Recipes/ Seasonal Ingredients/ Soup

Springtime Minestrone

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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  • 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:

    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.

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  • 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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  • Laura
    April 7, 2017 at 5:39 am

    I just searched for this recipe for an hour because I lost my bookmark. I finally just started googling the ingredients I could remember and I found it! This has been my go to for years! So good 🙂