This recipe for hearty Bacon Beef Minestrone soup is delicious, with a little twist on tradition it uses crisp, smokey bacon, savory chunks of sirloin, nutrient rich beans, tons of seasonal vegetables that are swimming in a tomato-y beef broth. Warm yourself up with a bowl of this delicious soup, ready in 30 minutes or less!
This recipe is based on the Bacon Minestrone recipe from the Bacon, Beans and Beer cookbook, by Eliza Cross, my fellow blogger over at Happy Simple Living. This amazing compact, colorful cookbook has so many great recipes, with beautiful, enticing photos! I highly recommend buying this little gem of a book. I’ve already made the Bacon Macaroni Salad (huge hit) as well as the Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf (YUM!)!
Traditionally, minestrone was a “use what’s leftover or in the fridge” soup, so I invite you to use up whatever leftover vegetables you might have on hand.
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How to make the BEST Minestrone soup!
In a large heavy pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove and set on paper towels to drain and cool, reserve drippings. Once cooled, chop or crumble bacon into bite size pieces, set aside.
TIP | I used pre-cooked, all-natural, uncured bacon, that’s what I had, so I didn’t get all of the great fat renderings from uncooked bacon. If you do the same or use a turkey bacon or other substitute, then before moving on to browning the sirloin bits, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the hot pan.
I added bite-sized chopped sirloin to the recipe; I was making this for my teenage boys on a busy back-to-school night, I needed it to be a bit “beefier”! So if using some beef, if needed, add a little olive oil to the pan drippings, increase your heat to medium-high and sear/brown your beef turning quickly.
You are not cooking it, just browning; remove once browned, set aside.
When making a veggie soup, I prefer to chop my vegetables all at once, that way as they are needed it’s a matter of simply scooping into the hot pot.
Saute your onions, leeks and carrots in the bacon pan drippings, adding olive oil if needed until vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Do you have a bench scraper? I love using it to scoop up my chopped veggies, neat, clean and easy!
Toss in your garlic and saute an additional minute, until fragrant.
Add your shredded cabbage, zucchini (I grated mine; the kids are more likely to eat it that way), and diced potato.
Add in your chicken and beef broth (mix and match to your taste, I like mine beef-y, so I used more beef stock). I used my homemade beef bone broth and homemade chicken broth, but any good brand of boxed broth or stock will work just fine.
TIP | Our family likes our soups “broth-ier” than most, so I added an additional 32 oz box of beef broth. I always feel like soups with pasta soak up so much liquid, so I typically double my liquid, optional.
Add tomato paste and stir into the soup.
Return the browned beef and a handful of the crisp bacon to the soup and bring to a simmer. Reserve the rest of the bacon for serving.
Reduce heat to simmer and add in 2 tablespoons parsley, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Stir into soup, simmering for about 15 minutes.
Add in your beans (drained and rinsed) and chopped tomatoes. The original recipe calls for both kidney and cannellini beans, but my store was out of cannellini beans, so I replaced them white kidney beans, honestly I had never seen those before, they were yummy!
Stir in your pasta shells, I totally spaced buying small pasta and the smallest I had were orecchiette pasta (means small ear in Italian), which swelled to the actual size of a small ear! Simmer until the pasta is tender, about 10-12 minutes.
Before serving adjust your seasonings as needed and add additional 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley. Toss in your remaining cooked bacon or sprinkle on top as a garnish for serving. Garnish each bowl with a generous amount of grated parm cheese, we love Parmesan.
Why is this the best minestrone soup?
- Make on Sunday and pack for lunch all week, even better the next day.
- This soup freezes amazingly well.
- Better than the Olive Garden or other store-bought varieties!
- Uses seasonal veggies and items common in your pantry.
- It’s good for you, easy to make and fills a lot of tummies.
- It’s not fussy, trade ingredients easily to fit your tastes.
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This hearty soup has a little twist on traditional minestrone using crisp, smokey bacon, savory chunks of sirloin, nutrient rich beans, tons of seasonal vegetables that are swimming in a tomato-y beef broth. Comfort food at it’s best!
- 1/4 lb bacon, cooked crisp and diced (if using pre-cooked bacon/turkey bacon, be sure to add a little additional olive oil when sauteing veggies and or beef)
- 1/2 lb sirloin, diced (other cuts of beef may be substituted)
- 1 onion, diced fine
- 2 carrots, peeled, diced small (or sub. 1 cup of baby carrots, diced)
- 1 leek, quartered, rinsed and diced small (white part and about 1 inch of green)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups shredded green cabbage (store bought works great)
- 1 small zucchini, grated or diced
- 1 potato, peeled and diced into small cubes (I used a russet potato, but try other varieties)
- 4 cups (32 oz) beef broth or stock (for a brothy soup, add additional 32 oz beef broth)
- 2 cups chicken broth or stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 5 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped, divided (dried may be substituted)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1–2 teaspoons sea salt (to taste, may need a little more or less)
- 1–15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (may sub other white bean)
- 1–15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (may sub black beans)
- 4 ripe plum tomatoes, diced or 1–15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 – 1 cup small pasta shells
- Parmesan cheese for garnish, freshly grated
- In a large heavy pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove and set on paper towels to drain and cool, reserve drippings. Once cooled, chop or crumble bacon into bite size pieces, set aside.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and if needed add a couple teaspoons of olive oil to pan. Toss in your sirloin and brown quickly on all sides, removing from pan once browned. Set aside.
- Saute your onions, leeks and carrots in the bacon pan drippings, adding olive oil if needed until vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
- Toss in your garlic and saute an additional minute, until fragrant.
- Stir in your shredded cabbage, zucchini (grated or diced), and diced potato.
- Add in your chicken and beef broth (I used more beef broth).
- Add tomato paste and stir into the soup.
- Return the browned beef and a handful of the crisp bacon to the soup and bring to a boil. Reserve the rest of the bacon for serving.
- Reduce heat to simmer and add in 2 tablespoons parsley, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Stir into soup, simmering for about 15 minutes.
- Add in your beans (drained and rinsed) and chopped tomatoes.
- Stir in your pasta shells, simmer until the pasta is tender, about 10-12 minutes.
- Before serving adjust your seasonings as needed and add additional 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley.
- Toss in your remaining cooked bacon or sprinkle on top as a garnish for serving.
- Garnish each bowl with a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese and additional bacon.
TIP | If using pre-cooked or turkey bacon, you will need to add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to saute your veggies and brown your sirloin.
TIP | I add an additional 32 oz box of beef broth, making it brothier.
This recipe was adapted from the Bacon, Beans and Beer Cookbook from Happy Simple Living.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
Keywords: minestrone, soup, bacon, beef, hearty, Italian, Comfort food, 30 minute meal
Try these similar hearty soup and stew recipes!