Minestrone Soup with Brown Rice and Chickpeas

On a year by year seasonal basis, I go through phases. Some winter seasons, I’m all about pasta. Other seasons I’ve hunkered down and found my way around many different curry recipes. This season? It appears to be all about one-pot stews that warm (and also happen to be good with a solid piece of crusty bread).

Recipe Base: a vegan original

This particular recipe is a lightly tweaked version of minestrone that I developed for Simply Recipes. The version over on that site, however, is vegan. This version is decidedly not. The vegan version is good but when it comes to these tomato stews, I feel like it’s just screaming for cheese.

The Parmesan

I didn’t put this in the recipe but this stew is also good with a parmesan rind thrown in. However, I’ve found it really only works with the non-vegetarian parmesan (which is why I didn’t include it in the recipe). So, just a thought, that if you aren’t going for a full vegetarian recipe- toss the rind in, you won’t be disappointed.

Frozen Vegetables

Also, I’ll give my spiel here about frozen vegetables. I love keeping frozen vegetables on hand because try as a might, my family is not always up for the squash and sweet potato recipes I want every day. Frozen vegetables retain their nutrition and when produce is out of season, I’ll buy frozen. I almost always have green beans, peas, and edamame stashed away.

Rice Versus Pasta

Finally, you could totally switch back over to making this soup with pasta. It would definitely speed up the process. However, there’s something really nice about the rice. It would also be nice with farro, sorghum, or even barley.




2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, minced

2 stalks celery, minced

2 medium carrots, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup short grain brown rice

3 cups vegetable broth

2 cups water

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried thyme 

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 bay bay leaf

1 cup cubed yukon gold potatoes (1/2 lbs)

1 cup frozen green beans

1 15 oz can, crushed tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups grated parmesan


  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil to the pot and follow with the minced onion, celery, and carrots. Cook until the trio of vegetables is tender and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute more.
  • Next, add the rice followed closely by the broth, water, herbs, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 25 minutes. After that time, stir in the potatoes and green beans. Continue to cook until the rice and potatoes are just about tender then stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and chickpeas. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until everything is tender.
  • Finally, add in the salt and parmesan. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. I’ll often add a bit more parmesan before adding more salt (I like quite a bite of the parmesan in mine). Finish with a few cranks of black pepper and extra parmesan, if desired.