Minestrone soup is quick, hearty meal

Here is a simple midweek recipe for minestrone with a refreshing blend of flavors. The vegetables and sausage combine with the perfume of fresh basil and the crunchy texture of the pecans to make this hearty soup, which is a complete meal. This one-dish dinner can be made in 20 minutes.

Acini pepe is a very small soup pasta. Any type of leftover pasta broken into small pieces or orzo (rice-shaped pasta) can be used.

Fresh trimmed green beans and diced celery are available in the produce section of most markets. These make prep time a breeze. Or, slice the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a medium slicing blade.

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: Maybe a light, red Italian Chianti.

Helpful Hints

▪ Buy good quality Parmesan cheese and chop it in the food processor. Freeze extra for quick use. You can quickly spoon out what you need and leave the rest frozen.


▪ Prepare ingredients.

▪ Make soup.

▪ While soup simmers, boil pasta.

Shopping List

Here are the ingredients you'll need for tonight’s Dinner in Minutes.

To buy: 1 medium tomato, 1 small package washed ready-to-eat spinach, 1 small bunch fresh basil, 1 package trimmed green beans, 1 package frozen diced onion, 1 small package broken pecans, 1 small piece Parmesan cheese, 1 small package acini pepe pasta and 1/2 pound low-fat turkey sausage.

Staples: olive oil, fat-free, no-salt-added chicken broth, salt and black peppercorns.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author, most recently, of “Delicious One-Pot Dishes,” featuring 60 recipes designed to be stewed, braised, slow-cooked or steamed, each in a single pot. Her website is Follow her on Twitter @lgassenheimer. Email:

Sausage Minestrone

By Linda Gassenheimer

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 pound low-fat turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup frozen diced onion

1 cup trimmed green beans cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium tomato, diced, (1 cup)

2 cups fat-free, no-salt-added chicken broth

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup packed fresh washed, ready-to-eat spinach

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup acini pepe pasta

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, onion and green beans. Saute for 5 minutes. Do not brown the vegetables.

Add the tomato and broth. The broth should cover the vegetables. Add water, if needed. Bring to a simmer and partially cover with a lid, leaving space for steam to escape. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Stir in the spinach and basil. Let stand 1 minute.

While soup cooks, bring a large pot filled with 2 to 3 quarts water to a boil. Add the acini pepe pasta and boil 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Drain.

Spoon pasta into bowls and ladle soup on top. Sprinkle each bowl with Parmesan cheese and pecans.

Yield: 2 servings.

Per serving: 594 calories (16 percent from fat), 10.4 g fat (2.8 g saturated, 6.4 g monounsaturated), 45 mg cholesterol, 41.9 g protein, 76.5 g carbohydrates, 6.6 g fiber, 772 mg sodium.