The simple Italian vegetable soup known as minestrone is a wonder of improvisation and the changing realities of fridge and pantry. In high summer, it’s a soup that highlights tender, barely cooked garden vegetables; in winter, it’s all about incorporating canned and preserved ingredients, and adding things like cured pork and red wine to give it a more substantial flavor. Here, in no particular order, are 7 recipes you can take seasonal inspiration from.
1. Tortellini Minestrone
The addition of fresh cheese tortellini makes this recipe bridge soup and pasta, perfect for early fall, when a chill descends but there’s still local zucchini and field basil in the farmers’ market. Get our Tortellini Minestrone recipe.
This most familiar of all minestrone recipes (dried and fresh beans, canned tomatoes, pasta) is autumn ready, though it moves effortlessly into deepest winter. It has a mosaic of delicious, interestingly textured vegetable things, and it stands as both the center and the opener to a meal. Get our Minestrone recipe.
3. Gabrielle Hamilton’s Christmas Eve Minestrone
Chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s kale-and-fennel minestrone is her Christmas Eve go-to, with grilled cheese sandwiches. The simplest food is sometimes the best on holidays (especially night-before holidays!), and this distinctive soup is all about warmth and comfort. Get Gabrielle Hamilton’s Christmas Eve Minestrone recipe.
4. Winter Minestrone
Pancetta and butternut squash give Ina Garten’s cold-weather minestrone a hearty quality that sticks to ribs and keeps bodies warm. Crisp, chewy, savory garlic bruschetta are the perfect garnish. Get Barefoot Contessa’s Winter Minestrone recipe.
5. Wild Garlic Minestrone
Wild garlic shoots and flowers start appearing in spring, a time of celebration for wild foragers. If you’re adventurous, you can turn your forest haul into a delicious soup, flavored with smoked paprika, lent color with canned tomatoes, and chewy with pasta. Get Chip Butties and Noodle Soup’s Wild Garlic Minestrone recipe.
6. Summer Minestrone
“When it’s summer’s high season,” writes Elise on Simply Recipes, “and the garden is overflowing with more vegetables than one can reasonably consume, a great way to make use of the bounty is to make minestrone soup.” Get Simply Recipes’ Summer Minestrone recipe.
7. Late Summer Minestrone
Farro and a shopping bagful of farmers’ market vegetables go into this seasonal celebration of minestrone, flavored with Parmesan rinds. “As the seasons change,” writes blogger Pamela Salzman, “so does this soup.” In winter, jarred tomatoes stand in for fresh, cabbage for zucchini. Get Pamela Salzman’s Late Summer Minestrone recipe.
Related video: 30 Healthy Soups That’ll Warm You Right Up