This big pot of soup almost makes itself, it’s so quick from start to finish! Wonderful minestrone, that great cool-weather standby…

Summer is behind us and winter is looming. The days are getting shorter, and soon it might be dark when you travel to and from work. With this soup waiting for you, you will feel a warm welcome.

This soup makes for excellent – and healthy – comfort food. Rich, deeply satisfying, and packed with vegetables. 

The main protein content of the minestrone comes from refried black beans; you can use refried pinto beans if you prefer them or if they’re easier to find, but the soup’s color will be a little less rich. The other ingredients are every day vegetables that you can easily find in your local grocery store or market.

You’ll see from the nutrition labels below that this is a very low calorie meal – yet it’s full of goodness. I make this soup year round, and usually end up freezing about half of it in individual servings. I love having a meal that’s ready to go as soon as I walk in the door. In a pinch, you can even thaw the soup in the pan without loss of flavor or texture.

As we approach the holiday season, it’s useful to have a healthy low calorie option to even out the inevitable high calorie party days.

Although maybe a little unusual as a pot luck offering, this is a great dish for sharing with others – hearty, healthy, quick, easy, and inexpensive. Because we’re getting close to the season of office potlucks, neighborhood gatherings, and family parties, you might consider making this recipe as your contribution. You can even transfer the minestrone into a slow cooker or electric soup pot before taking it to an event, and then give everyone a healthy hot treat without having to find a spare burner on the stove. What could be better?

Yields Makes ten servings

Serves About ten servings (2 cups per serving)


Practically instant minestrone | Foodie Friday

10 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Recipe Image


  • 2 qts vegetable broth or water
  • 29 oz refried black beans
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1 leek, trimmed, washed, sliced
  • 29 oz tomatoes, crushed, diced, or whole
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram or fine herbes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice to serve


  1. In a big pan, heat the broth and beans over medium heat.
  2. When almost boiling, add the onions, garlic, celery, parsley, and leek to the pan. Cook for five minutes.
  3. Stir in the beans and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cabbage, season with the salt and pepper, dried herbs, and red pepper flakes if using.
  5. Partially cover, and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes.
  6. Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle lemon juice over the soup prior to serving. You can use vinegar instead if you prefer it or if you don't have any fresh lemons.


If you want to serve the minestrone over noodles, cook them separately according to the package instructions and add directly to the serving bowl. If you cook them in the big pan along with the soup, they will get overcooked and soggy.


This recipe makes a lot of soup; you can easily make less by adjusting the amounts as needed.

The soup tastes even better the second day, so if you have time, make it a day ahead.

You can boost the protein content by adding a can of black beans to the pot when you add the tomatoes and cabbage.

What’s good about this recipe

The soup contains cabbage, which is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, and a very good source of manganese, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1, folate and copper.

The alliums in this recipe (onion, leek, and garlic) provide necessary vitamins and minerals. Garlic is also believed to provide a measure of cardiovascular protection.

If you previously thought that celery was only good for adding a bit of crunch to salads, it’s time to think again. Celery – like the tomatoes included in this recipe – contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidants.

Image shows nutrition label for this recipe for practically instant minestrone, as described on

Practically instant minestrone without pasta

Image shows nutrition label for practically instant minestrone with noodles, as described in this recipe on

Practically instant minestrone and 1/4 cup pasta per serving

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