This recipe is great for those fridge-clearing times when you need to use up your CSA veggies…use any veggies, herbs, beans and.or pasta you have on hand; like most soups this recipe is very forgiving with substitutions and changes.  Tonight I’m skipping the leeks, using cannelini instead of pinto beans, and tossing in some leftover cooked orzo at the end.  Great with tortilla chips!

Mexican Minestrone


A hearty, veggie-packed soup with pinto beans, leeks, celery, chard, zucchini and tomatoes.

Serves: 8


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + more as needed
  • 1 large onion – chopped
  • 2 leeks – chopped and rinsed (cleaning tip: chop leeks first then add to a bowl of cold water; swirl to clean, then lift leeks out with your hands and add to pot.)
  • 3 carrots peeled and thickly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 celery rib – sliced
  • 2 cups chopped baby rainbow chard or tender green chard
  • 1 med zucchini – cut crosswise into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup canned tomato puree (or diced tomatoes)
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup ditalini or other small pasta
  • 2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground chipotle or cayenne (optional)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (optional)
  • squeeze of lime (optional)


In a large pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil and the chopped onion. Saute until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the leeks and saute until the edges begin to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Push the onion-leek mixture to one side, then add the celery, garlic, oregano and carrots; cook for a few more minutes. Stir in the chard, zucchini, tomato puree, beans and chicken stock. Bring to a boil then add cumin and pasta.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper; add cayenne, cilantro and Parmesan and lime as desired.


Recipe: Mexican Minestrone
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