Springtime Minestrone

by jenna on March 22, 2011

Apparently it’s officially spring as of last Sunday. It certainly felt that way in Austin, where it was 85 degrees and sunny, but then when we got home to Northern California it 47 degrees and pouring rain. So not cool.

This soup is perfect for those drippy, cool can’t-decide-whether-it’s-winter-or-spring days. It’s chock-full of things that are green and good for you, like rainbow chard, sugar snap peas, fennel and leek. I like to eat healthy meals like this once in a while so I don’t feel so bad about stuffing myself with this for dessert. Duh.

You wanna know the best part of this soup? And no, it’s not all the magical health properties of the vegetables or the protein from the beans and peas.

It’s clearly the fact that I used whole wheat alphabet pasta! How awesome is that? I love spontaneous regressions into childhood.

This soup is perfect made after a trip to the farmers market or…Whole Foods. All of the green veggies used are in season right now and I gave the soup a California twist by adding a roasted poblano pepper.

I served my soup with a generous heap of freshly grated Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon. Hello, Spring!

Springtime Minestrone

serves 4

Print this recipe!


1 T extra virgin olive oil

1 leek, sliced thin

1 quart chicken or vegetable stock

1 bulb fennel, chopped

1 cup small pasta (such as alphabet or orzo)

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed

1 large bunch rainbow chard, roughly chopped

1/4 lb sugar snap peas, chopped in half

1 cup frozen green peas

1 poblano pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

fresh grated Parmesan for serving

squeeze of lemon for serving


Roast the poblano pepper either over the flame on your stove (if you have a gas stove) or under the broiler until black and charred. Set aside to cool and then remove the seeds and chop.

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the leek and cook for five minutes, until the leek is bright green and soft.

Add the stock and the pasta and bring to a simmer. Let cook for another five minutes and then add the sugar snap peas, fennel, chard, beans, salt and pepper. Simmer for only a couple of minutes before adding the roasted poblano pepper, peas and mint. Continue cooking until pasta is just tender.

Ladle soup into bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon.


30 minutes (including prep time)

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{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

megan @ blackberries for jam March 22, 2011 at 5:05 am

I’ve been eating lots of spring-y foods in an attempt to beckon spring in Vermont, but it’s just not working. This soup looks like a great opportunity to continue my efforts!


Heather (Heather's Dish) March 22, 2011 at 5:07 am

the fact that this dish boasts poblanos makes my heart swell! i love soup even into the summer, so this is going to be on the menu a lot


Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 22, 2011 at 5:10 am

Yeah, the alphabets totally ARE the best part of the soup!

Reminds me of playing euchre with my family for alphabets cereal as a kid 😀


Amanda March 22, 2011 at 5:12 am

I love minestrone soup! This looks so delicious! :)


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 22, 2011 at 5:18 am

I LOVE that alphabet pasta!! So cute and it reminds me of being a kid. Minestrone is one of my favourites because of all the veggies and nutritional goodness. Great recipe for this time of year! :)


Charise March 22, 2011 at 5:31 am

This sounds so good. I love it when you post more savory recipes!


Lauren at Keep It Sweet March 22, 2011 at 5:38 am

This looks delicious!


Stacy @ Every Little Thing March 22, 2011 at 5:40 am

This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Yum, love all the veggies topped with parm!


Amy March 22, 2011 at 5:41 am

Oooh, the minestrone is beautiful! :)


Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama March 22, 2011 at 5:41 am

This looks great. I love that you used alphabet pasta! Maybe I could even get my little one to eat it. :-)


Christie {Nourishing Eats} March 22, 2011 at 5:42 am

This is the second recipe for spring time minestrone I have seen today! Spring is here, hoooray!!


Jessica @ How Sweet March 22, 2011 at 5:43 am

This soups sounds so good. Love the mint!


Christina March 22, 2011 at 5:44 am

LOVE the alphabet soup. Minestrone soup is one my favorites- will be making this soon.


Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin March 22, 2011 at 5:45 am

Wow this soup looks unbelievable! Love the lettered pasta – reminds me of my childhood!


Hannah (Culture Connoisseur) March 22, 2011 at 5:47 am

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a soup like this. So unique! I can’t wait to give it a try.

P.S. The alphabets are just adorable.


Jen @ keepitsimplefoods March 22, 2011 at 5:48 am

Oooh, I love springtime soups! In fact, I posted one on my blog just today! :)


Laughter-Loving Stacy March 22, 2011 at 5:48 am

Ha, ha! Love the use of alphabet noodles! This sounds really good, definitely on my MAKE ASAP list. :)


Emily March 22, 2011 at 5:56 am

Yum!! So green and bright, can’t wait to try it :)


Estela @ Weekly Bite March 22, 2011 at 6:03 am

Love all the colors in this soup! Sounds perfect for early Spring :)


rebecca lustig March 22, 2011 at 6:06 am

oh, this is SOOO a perfect recipe! Yum


Jenny March 22, 2011 at 6:29 am

I love all of the veggies in this! LOOks so fresh and light!:)


Spicy Bohemian March 22, 2011 at 6:36 am

Ooooh, this looks so simple and yummy! Very springish. :) Can’t wait to try it!!


dee March 22, 2011 at 6:43 am

I absolutely love that you used alphabet pasta! And whole wheat to boot. You rock!


Elizabeth@The Sweet Life March 22, 2011 at 7:00 am

Oh yum. Totally, utterly gorgeous.


Sarah @ The Strength of Faith March 22, 2011 at 7:10 am

I live in Connecticut and it snowed yesterday. Awesome start to spring.


amy walters, aDESIGNdock March 22, 2011 at 7:11 am

Yummy, this looks so delicious. I love homemade soups, but am usually scared of trying them. However, I might just have to get over my fears and tackle this recipe. It looks amazing!


R Chandra March 22, 2011 at 7:14 am

you take such beautiful pictures, Jenna! i love your composition.

minestrone is my soup-of-choice. thanks for the recipe!


Lucy @ The Sweet Touch March 22, 2011 at 7:39 am

I think it’s safe to say I love every flavor in this soup minus the fennel but I’m guessing it would still be good without due to all the other goodies!

PS. Love the little ELR reference in the alphabet pasta pic:)


Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 22, 2011 at 7:44 am

This looks delicious — particularly after I read that you added poblanos! I’m still a little uneasy around mint in savory dishes, but my goal this summer is to tackle that fear. Inspiration.


Lucy March 22, 2011 at 7:50 am

Sorry if this posts twice, not sure if my first one went through. I was just saying I love every flavor in this soup except maybe the fennel which I’m sure I could leave out and still enjoy all the other goodies!

PS. I love the little ELR reference in the alphabet pasta pic:)


Baking 'n' Books March 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Thanks for pointing that out! That is cute :)

Looks very clean and green.

But I admit – you only won me over with “Parmesan”….I know that’s so wrong…


Kalynskitchen March 22, 2011 at 7:57 am

What a lovely soup; looks perfect for those in-between spring days!


Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman March 22, 2011 at 8:32 am

This looks great. I love that you used alphabet pasta. It brings back fond memories of childhood.


Katherine: Unemployed March 22, 2011 at 8:36 am

does that box say kids only? oh no they didn’t…


Michelle | GOLD-HEARTED GIRL March 22, 2011 at 8:55 am

It’s so colorful! I can’t wait to make this. And I loooove your anthropologie bowl. :) Those are my fave.


Moni'sMeals March 22, 2011 at 8:59 am

YES Please, how colorful is this…can it get any better. Wow.

That would go great with the grilled cheese!


Justeen @ Blissful Baking March 22, 2011 at 9:05 am

This soup looks absolute deeelicious! Love the springtime veggies!


Nancy~the wife of a dairyman March 22, 2011 at 9:26 am

That soup looks beautiful! Love all the bright green:) Sounds like it’s delicious as well and need to try it myself:)


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey March 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

This looks so good – and the lemon must give it that spring freshness we’re all craving!!


Heather @ Health, Happines, and Hope March 22, 2011 at 9:32 am

Love all the colors in this soup and how cute with the alphabet noodles! :) Great recipe!


Natalia - a side of simple March 22, 2011 at 9:43 am

Making this will only further justify my baking attempts and replication of the world’s best grilled cheese sandwich, right? Bathing suit season can totally wait.


Laura @ prettylittlewords March 22, 2011 at 9:51 am

I was JUST thinking about how much I was craving a big tasty bowl of minestrone! Yum — can’t wait to make this! :)


Laura March 22, 2011 at 9:53 am

Given that we’re supposed to get up to 12 inches of snow here tonight I could use any reminder that spring is near that I can get!
I love the alphabet pasta! So cute :)


Jen March 22, 2011 at 10:02 am

When does the fennel go in? I’d like to make this tonight 😀


jenna March 22, 2011 at 11:37 am

sorry! fixed that! You add it in with the chard and the beans :)


Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather March 22, 2011 at 10:02 am

So much green, I love it! Definitely delicious and made fun with the alphabet pasta!


Kristen @ Chocolate Covered Kristen March 22, 2011 at 10:07 am

Yum – that soup has my name written all over it!


Kristen @ Chocolate Covered Kristen March 22, 2011 at 10:07 am

Yum – that soup has my name written all over it!


salah (My Healthiest Lifestyle) March 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

this minestrone looks sooo great!


Jen March 22, 2011 at 10:20 am

How adorable is the alphabet pasta! I love it. I will have to make this for one of my group dinners when it’s my turn to bring soup. Thanks for the recipe!


Beth @ DiningAndDishing March 22, 2011 at 10:28 am

Peas, lemon and parmesan together scream spring to me! Reminds me of the Barefoot Contessas spring risotto. I absolutely LOVE the combination! :)


Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous March 22, 2011 at 10:42 am

This soup looks FANTASTIC! I’m going to make it this weekend after a trip to the farmers market! Thanks for sharing.


Meghan @ StruggleMuffins March 22, 2011 at 10:46 am

This looks so yummy – today would be the perfect day for it (its gloomy here in Massachusetts – a total soupworthy day). Love the alphabet pasta!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) March 22, 2011 at 10:53 am

I love the alphabet pasta…it would please my preschooler to know she could eat her letters :)

Great soup, great pictures! I love the vibrancy of the green, Jenna.


Katie@FabFitFull March 22, 2011 at 10:55 am

I LOVE the whole wheat alphabet pasta! where did you get it??


jenna March 22, 2011 at 11:36 am

so fun! I got it from Whole Foods—I think it’s new!


Jaclyn and Jenn March 22, 2011 at 11:02 am

I just started this healthy food photo sharing site: http://healthfreakfood.com/

I would love it if you submitted your pretty food photos! :)


Whitney March 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

Yum!! I’ll be adding that to the rotation next week!


sisters running the kitchen March 22, 2011 at 11:10 am

looks great! especially those alphabet pasta!


Kiran March 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

Love minestrone and colorful spring vegetables that ups an appetite!


sonia March 22, 2011 at 11:25 am

Wonderful and yummy recipe, just perfect for my little one… !


healthy seasonal recipes March 22, 2011 at 11:27 am

This is so beautiful and inspiring! Thanks for the feast for the eyes and the yummy recipe. I love the mint.


Lola March 22, 2011 at 11:44 am

Poblano pepper and alphabet soup :) I love it!!!

I’m having a Giveaway on my blog, I’m giving away a bag of mexican goodies, please drop by everybody!!!



Ambersnotebook March 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Holy yum!! And perfect for my post tonsillectomy healing! I think you just answered my what’s for dinner question!
Amber’s Notebook


Amanda @ Martinis At Six March 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm

This isn’t always the best thing to say when it comes to food but in this case its wonderful – I love how it looks so green! We’re still in that gray phase here in Michigan, but hopefully everything will be green and growing again. The alphabet pasta is super cute too.


Kelli H March 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm

soup looks delicious! definitely fitting for this gloomy weather.


Jennifer March 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Does that soup taste as good as it looks?? ‘Cuz it sure looks good!!


Jessica @ Healthy Dairyland March 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Soup looks fantastic!


Emma (Namaste Everyday) March 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm

the alphabet letters would make this a great meal for kids, too!


Mellie March 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I love the alphabet noodles, they bring back happy memories.


Emily @ Savory and Savage March 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm

A vibrant soup that screams spring :-)

Make me have a new resolve to hit the famer’s market this week.


d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo March 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm

normally i’m not a big minestrone girl but this looks SO GOOD! I love spring!


foodies at home March 22, 2011 at 6:02 pm

It has been rather chilly in Northern California but this soup looks like the perfect cure! I have been itching for spring and all those great green veggies! Yum!


French Heart March 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Beautiful pix. Looks delicious. Just back from the freezing, deserted, windy beach. Making this right now. to thaw out. Thanks!


Happy When Not Hungry March 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm

New to your blog, but love it!! This soup looks delicious. I love the addition of the mint and the alphabet pasta too. So fun!


Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner March 23, 2011 at 4:51 am

Oh this looks AWESOME! I am a huge lover of soups like this and can’t wait to try it..
Thanks for sharing!!


sheila @ Elements March 23, 2011 at 10:06 am

Looks amazingly beautiful!!! All those yummy greens and beans and other divine things…like cheese and peas!! I need this!! Maybe I’ll my a pot for dinner! :)


R @ Learning As I Chop March 23, 2011 at 10:46 am

This soup looks delicious! Might have to try it


Tasha @ Voracious March 24, 2011 at 2:19 am

Yes yes YES! This soup looks so fresh and bright, what an absolute riot of color. Soup is one of my very favorite things to eat, and the more healthy goodies packed into it the better.

Although, here in Saudi Arabia, it’s already hitting the 90s….so I think we’re jumping past Spring and straight into Summer. I’ll just eat the soup inside with the AC cranked!


amanda March 25, 2011 at 5:37 am

this is tasty, made it last night, but minus the fennel and mint, plus 2 diced carrots and a stalk of diced celery. i used a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce instead of the poblano, since I didn’t have a poblano. i just wonder when you added the fennel in your version? is this anything like true italian minestrone? in any case this hit the spot for dinner on a (cooler) evening. i’m sure you know how alabama in spring is… which means spring happens for about a week, then pollen and humidity hit.


Lesley March 26, 2011 at 6:59 pm

This soup is a green blessing! Full of bring promise for spring, yet warm and delicious on this cool, damp NW March day. Truly delicious. I plan to make a pot for an ill coworker this week, too.


Kate @ NaturaStride March 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm

So excited to make this TONIGHT! :)


P Newton March 31, 2012 at 3:56 pm

This soup is delicious. Loved everything about it – the cannellini beans, the rainbow chard, which I had never used before, the mint. I could not find poblano pepper so omitted it but will try it next time. I used 1 1/2 cups of orzo and added carrots. There were so many veggies that I added 2 1/2 quarts of low fat chicken broth. Be sure to add the Parmesan at the end and the squeeze of lemon. The lemon brightens the entire bowl. Yummy!


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