Minestrone with Tortellini and Pesto

Minestrone soup is one of those foods I realized as an adult that I really like.  I probably didn’t think I liked it before because it has a tomato-based broth and is loaded with veggies.  That wasn’t my favorite combination way back then, but now this Italian soup is one I completely enjoy.

As soon as I saw the photo and recipe over at Pink Parsley, I knew I’d be making it soon.  This soup looked delicious, and it was taken to the next level with the addition of cheese tortellini and basil-pesto.  I have lots of pesto in the freezer from last summer, so that part was easy.  All I had to do was figure out which night to put it on the menu.

I think Josie’s recipe is versatile enough that you can switch up the vegetables and spices, depending on your tastes or what you have on hand.  We substituted garbanzo beans for the cannellinis, added a few more mushrooms, and used one less carrot (because a certain snowman needed a nose).

As expected, it was perfect for a cold January evening.  The only thing left to decide is when to make it again.

Minestrone with Tortellini and Pesto
Yield:  4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 stalks of celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium onion, minced

5 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 1/2 cups V8 vegetable juice

1 (15-oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 (9-oz) package fresh cheese tortellini

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

salt and ground black pepper

1/2 cup pesto

Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Stir in the carrots, celery, onions, 1/4 teaspoon  salt, and black pepper to taste, and cook until just softened, 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until all the vegetables are softened, 5-6 more minutes.  Add the minced garlic, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper (if using),  and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Do not let the garlic brown.

Stir in the broth, and scrape any brown bits in the pot.   Stir in the vegetable juice and beans and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let simmer about 30 minutes.
Add the tortellini and zucchini and continue to simmer until they are cooked through and tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the pesto.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.  After ladling into serving bowls, garnish with Parmesan and serve.

Recipe source:  Slightly adapted from Pink Parsley



  1. You didn’t mention anything about that fabulous focaccia bread that you served with the soup! That was, after all, the “baked” part…

    • The focaccia was the first thing I noticed in the first picture, and I thought, “ohhh, I bet that was homemade, too!” Yum to minestrone AND focaccia.

  2. The kids love that you put there snowman on here. Love it!

  3. Aww! I’m sad I missed that! That looked SOOOO delicious! I will have to go raid the pantry and try it…tomorrow!

  4. I had to include the snowman. It was awesome!

    Ha! We’ll have to make the focaccia again soon. I made it a few weeks ago and it’s been nice to pull it out of the freezer to go with dinner.

  5. Marilyn Richards says:

    We’re going to try this before the “cold weather” goes away! (Ha, ha…that’s kind of a joke this year. Right?) It does look very delicious!

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