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Mexican Minestrone Soup

Photograph by Alejandra Graf

Minestrone is normally a thick and substantial soup loaded with vegetables and some kind of pasta or rice. There is no original recipe or way to prepare it — many households make different and there's no wrong way. Similarly in Mexico, sopa de verduras is a very common dish in every household. It is made with all the vegetables you have around. That said, feel free to add any kind of vegetables you have in your fridge to prepare this soup.

RELATED: Mexican Pink Sauce Pasta

At home, my kids and I love this recipe with this specific combination of veggies. It's healthy, savory and is the kind of dish that fills your mind and heart with good memories and warm feelings. This Mexican minestrone is the combination of flavors for two of my favorite cuisines, Italian and Mexican. Even though the method and vegetables used in both countries are different, the finished product is very similar. And I can imagine that the feeling that you get while eating this vegetable soup, of being close to home, surrounded by family and happiness it is exactly the same, too.

This recipe is vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

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RECIPE: Mexican Minestrone Soup

Yields 6-8 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium tomatoes quartered
  • 1/4 medium-sized onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon neutral-tasting oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup finely diced zucchini
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 4 cups of water or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup orzo (or other small pasta)

For the cilantro pesto:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a blender, add the tomatoes, onion and garlic. Blend until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of water if the blender is having trouble running.

  2. Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the tomato, onion and garlic puree and cook until it changes color and starts to simmer.

  3. Add the chopped vegetables and the water or vegetable broth. When the soup starts to simmer, add the pasta. Lower the heat and leave for 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.

  4. To make the cilantro pesto, mix the chopped cilantro, pumpkin seeds, minced garlic, salt, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor, blender, or with a mortar and pestle.

  5. Serve in bowls and top with a tablespoon of cilantro pesto.

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Photograph by Alejandra Graf

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