I don’t mean to sound so happy about this, but how about this chilling-down-of-the-weather situation? Haaappy dance!
It’s time to bust out the Instant Pots, slow cookers, or big ol’ soup pots again because my favorite season is making its annual appearance. SOUP SEASON!
And this humble, modern-ish minestrone has everything you could probably ever want: veggies, more veggies, one more pile of veggies, basil pesto, yummy tomato sauce, beans, bulgur (we’ll talk this over shortly), fresh parsley, garlic, smoked paprika, and parmesan on top! And crusty bread on the side! Dang, Gina. That is one winter-body-lovin soup. Like, the good kind of winter body. Just… nevermind.
I have a special love connection with this minestrone because my neighbor Pam ( remember Pam? originator of carrot cake cupcakes?) makes a minestrone that is kinda like this, only better. Better because 1) it’s always better when someone else makes it. And 2) because actually it IS better. It has bacon. Mine has smoked paprika instead of bacon. I know. WHY DO YOU EVEN FOLLOW ME.
Is it weird that I can still vividly remember the exact first time I ate this minestrone, oh, let’s see, FIFTEEN YEARS AGO? I remember sitting around a superlong table, huddled up with a bunch of neighbors, in a cabin in the Wisconsin woods, and Pam dishing out her Minestrone to the masses after a “long day” where my only job in life was to go snowmobiling and play card games.
Honestly, sometimes the food details that live inside my brain are borderline alarming. Is this really why I can’t remember where I put my water bottle this morning? Because this obscure, wonderful memory of Pam’s minestrone and a green can of Parmesan cheese around a cozy cabin the Wisconsin woods is taking up space in the corners of my brain?
Priorities, I guess.
Okay, so Minestrone. Modern minestrone. Without pasta!
…Hello? you still there?
Let me try to defend the – pasta + bulgur decision. First of all, have you ever even had bulgur? Guys. It’s Yum City. Chewy, nutty, wheaty (makes sense, since it is, in fact, wheat). Secondly, nutrition. Think complex carbs, fiber, and protein. I dunno, maybe you’ll feel awesome after you casually eat it in your Instant Pot minestrone? Thirdly, just try it already. If you don’t like it you can go back to pasta like a regular person. Or barley like Pam’s original version. I will allow adaptations.
A few shortcuts to note here:
Instant Pot. There’s a time and place for the healing powers of sautéing garlic and onion, or the smell of something in your oven, or the sound of a pot of soup simmering on the stove. I fully believe that. There’s also a time and place for putting your feet up and pressing a button on an electric cooker machine thing. Fully believe that, too.
DeLallo pesto. We are long-time users and lovers of DeLallo. Evidence: here.
DeLallo marinara sauce, or any of their tomato sauces. These are hands-down my favorite jarred sauces – they’re all clean, no added sugar (which is surprisingly hard to find), made with really high quality ingredients. Yes please. Love it.
Guys, I can’t stress enough how happy I am to be back in the swing of soup season. It is my zone.
I hope you make this for yourself and enjoy a free pass for 30 minutes while it cooks and then love your happy desk lunches all week. Win win win. ♡
Use the code PINCH25 at checkoutto receive 25% off your purchase at DeLallo.com through 10/31/17! Excludes sampler kits and gift cards.
Watch How To Make Our Instant Pot Minestrone (1 MIN):
Part One: Place everything in the first list inside an Instant Pot / pressure cooker. Turn on the soup setting (30 minutes). Go put your feet up!
Part Two: Use the quick release to let the steam out (hang on, it takes a few minutes). Pull out the bay leaves. Add the bulgur, replace cover, and let it all sit together to cook the bulgur for a while (about 20 minutes). Add more water as needed.
Serve like a boss: Serve with Parmesan and fresh parsley. I’d also like to mention that the leftovers are mighty delicious.
In a slow cooker: Place all ingredients except bulgur in a slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours on low heat. Mix bulgur in at the end and let it rest for 30 minutes or so (doing this near the end helps it stay chewy rather than turning to mush).
On the stovetop: Saute the carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and pesto until the vegetables are soft. Add the beans, spices, liquids, and cabbage and simmer for an hour or so. Add bulgur at the end until cooked. Longer simmer = better flavor.
Smoked paprika adds a smoky depth to the flavor of this soup that can also be achieved with bacon! If you prefer, just mince a few pieces of bacon and add to the mix instead. It’s YUMMY, but the downside is that it makes the soup a little more greasy, which is why this version is written with the smoked paprika instead.
Traditional minestrone would use pasta (and that works fine here if you want to make that sub). I used bulgur here because I liked the nutrition and chewiness of it as compared to the pasta!
If you don’t have a jar of pasta sauce or marinara sauce, you CAN use a can of diced tomatoes, but I would recommend adding more seasoning to compensate for what you’re missing with the pasta sauce or marinara.
We tried freezing this recipe and would not recommend it as it gets too mushy when reheated.
If you need this recipe to be vegan, you’ll need to buy vegan pesto or make it yourself. This one might be nice!
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:30 mins
Keywords: instant pot minestrone, minestrone soup, instant pot soup