Soup for Supper – Red Wine Minestrone

When I was a kid, Minestrone was an elegant dish, something you would find in a restaurant – at least in rural Maine. That probably gives you some ides just how old I am! These days Minestrone is as common as vegetable soup, with just as many variations. And like vegetable soup, everyone seems to love it. Minestrone was certainly one of our most popular red wine soups (many people told us it tastes just like the Olive Garden version), and we’ve received lots of requests for the recipe since we stopped producing it last summer. First the background:

Last summer we stopped producing our Wine Barrel Gourmet Red Wine soup mixes. Since then I have been fielding numerous calls and responding to emails and letters from disappointed customers. The requests have been so prolific that I promised to post the recipes so everyone can re-create our soups at home. (Note – this isn’t the exact soup mix recipe, since the packaged mixes included several dried ingredients that aren’t easily available to home cooks – but it’s close! Update:  Wine Barrel Gourmet has been sold and its soups should be available again soon.)

This recipe makes 6, one-cup servings.

Saute 1 garlic clove (minced), 1 medium onion or shallot (minced) and 1 large carrot (diced) in 2 Tbsp of olive oil until soft but not browned. Add the following:

  • 1 (14 – 16 oz) can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup garden peas
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp grated orange peel
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ajwain seed
  • 2 tsp muscovado sugar

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until macaroni is tender, 15 – 20 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup red wine. Heat through before serving (or cook for an additional 10 minutes to keep the red wine flavoring but none of the alcohol).

This recipe leaves lots of room to experiment. You can add zucchini, green beans, chopped cabbage or spinach. Substitute white kidney beans (cannellini) for the red beans and use ditalini or small pasta shells instead of elbow macaroni. If you are a garlic lover, start with 2 or 3 cloves instead of one. Just don’t forget to add the piece de resistance; red wine. I recommend a lighter red wine here so as not to overpower the subtle herb medley. Chianti or pinot noir or your favorite blend would all work well. Top with grated Parmesan for a filling, flavorful, budget-friendly, quick, easy, healthy meal that the whole family will love (now how many of those recipes are there!).

Were you a fan of our Red Wine line? If so, what other recipes would you like us to publish? Sauces? Dressings? Pasta dishes? Or maybe recipes from our bread line?

Fine the recipe for our Red Wine Lentil Soup here.

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at and

Comments (4)

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  1. Ruth Rueter says:

    I made the red wine minestrone (w/o ajwain seeds could not find so I added more oregano) and thought it was very good. I was concerned at first because all I could taste was the Kosher salt and I added more muscavado sugar but in the end I did not need to do that. The flavors come together and it is a nice soup.

    • Ruth, I am glad that you enjoyed it! Ajwain seed is often difficult to find. I order it from Penzey’s Spices so I always have it on hand. It is traditionally used in Indian and Pakistani bean or lentil dishes. Thanks for sharing your tip on using additional oregano instead. Adding a little dried thyme is another good substitute.

  2. biggsis says:

    Sounds delicious. The addition of orange peel is very intriguing – as is the ajwain seeds which I must go look up. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you. I try to add ingredients that give an unexpected flavor punch – which means I can use less salt. The orange peel does that in this recipe. As for the ajwain seed, I usually order mine from Penzey’s Spices. I can’t find it locally. Let us know how it turns out for you!

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