The thing I like most about this soup is the pesto made from the greens of the beets and turnips, along with the kale. Yep, I'm going tip-to-tail. The soup itself gets its lovely red color from beets. You'll have more pesto than you need for the soup, so serve the leftovers over pasta or freeze for future soups. Serve the minestrone with crusty bread and a salad.


Recipe Summary

20 mins
45 mins
1 hr 5 mins
4 servings


Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Winter Greens Pesto:
Red Winter Minestrone:


Instructions Checklist
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Strip beet greens, turnip greens, and kale from their coarse stems and wash leaves well. Working in batches, cook each bunch in boiling water until bright green and slightly limp, about 1 minute. Transfer immediately to ice water and repeat with remaining greens. Discard cooking water.

  • Remove greens from ice water and squeeze out as much water as possible.

  • Combine greens, 2/3 cup olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in blender or food processor; blend until smooth. Transfer pesto to a bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap.

  • Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in onion, grated tomato, 4 cloves minced garlic, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, bay leaf, and chili flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes; reduce heat to low. Continue cooking and stirring until vegetables are a deep golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Pour remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over onion mixture. Stir in leek, carrot, turnips, and beets. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

  • Pour white wine over vegetable mixture and scrape browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Mix cannellini beans and green beans into vegetable mixture; pour in 5 cups water. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until green beans are tender, about 5 minutes more. Stir in parsley and lemon juice.

  • Divide soup among heated bowls and serve with a generous dollop of the winter greens pesto.


This recipe was submitted by Herbivoracious in collaboration with the OxBox Project: food bloggers creating delicious recipes featuring Oxbow Farm vegetables.

Cook's Notes:

I highly recommended cooking the beans yourself, rather than using canned beans. The texture is better and you can use the bean cooking liquid as part of the soup broth for extra flavor. Reserve 3 cups bean cooking liquid and use in place of 3 cups water in step 6.

If you're using fresh Roma tomatoes in the soup, dip them in the boiling water for 30 seconds and transfer to ice bath. Remove skins when cool enough to handle.

Refrigerate pesto if you're making it ahead of time.

The first part of cooking the soup itself is to make a sofrito--onions, tomatoes, and garlic slowly cooked into a flavorful paste. If you have time on your hands, you might want to make a double or triple batch and save the rest to serve on pasta, or eggs, or to flavor rice. Sofrito freezes quite well.

If you prefer, you may use 2 canned plum tomatoes, grated, rather than fresh.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of pesto ingredients. The actual amount of pesto consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts

916 calories; protein 20.4g; carbohydrates 65.7g; fat 61.4g; cholesterol 6.2mg; sodium 808.1mg. Full Nutrition