Now that my husband and I live in Southern California, the weather here seldom calls for a bowl of hot, hearty soup. But in our first few love nests in Boston, soup was a regular supper on the cold (and I mean cold) winter nights.

In Boston, we’d spend many winter weekends grocery shopping for vegetables and meat, throwing it all into the CrockPot and watching movies while it simmered. However, warm weekends on the sunny Pacific coast still leave us longing for those lazy Sundays of doing nothing but drooling over the meal to come.

This minestrone has been my favorite one-pot meal and most scrumptious soup this season, and it is super simple to make. Just the ingredient list will have your mouth watering: Hearty kielbasa sausage, garlic cloves, fresh bell peppers, carrots, celery and onion, beans, plum tomatoes and dried basil and oregano. Toss in some plump pasta, serve it with a salad and grate some Parmesan cheese over your bowl, and dinner is served!

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Print Recipe


Yield: Serves 4-5


1 lb. kielbasa sausage, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
1 onion, diced
2 bell peppers (I use red and green), diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes (Italian-style or regular) and their juice
1 quart chicken broth or stock
1 14.5 oz. can Great Northern or canellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1-2 Tbsp. fresh basil (or 1 tsp. dry)
1 1/2 cups dry medium-sized pasta (orrechiette or shells)
olive oil, salt, and pepper


In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, brown sausage in a small drizzle of olive oil. Remove sausage and set aside.

Add onion, bell peppers, carrots, and celery to pot, stirring to scrape up any brown bits. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and continue to cook over medium heat until veggies are crisp-tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add garlic to pot and cook 1 minute more. Return sausage to soup pot.

Using your hands, break up or crush the tomatoes into the soup pot. Add tomato juices and the chicken broth to the pot. Stir in beans, oregano, and basil. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer about 20 minutes.

While soup is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions in a separate pot. Cook until al dente. Drain and add to soup pot. Stir to combine and add 1-2c water if necessary, or if more broth is desired.


Adapted from One Lovely Life