Chef John's Minestrone Soup Recipe Reviews - Allrecipes.com (Pg. 1)
Reviewed: Sep. 9, 2012
Wow. What a big soup indeed. Not only did my husband offer the unprovoked, "this is the best soup I've ever had," there were clean bowls at the end of the meal- four of them. The significance? My children ate vegetables- and liked it. First of all, I'm one of these cooks that shamefully can't leave well enough alone and cannot, will not, has not, ever left a recipe as is. It's not in my genes. Graciously, Chef John gives us all creative license in his video to waver from the recipe and I did. So, let me tell you what I changed, mostly due to what I had on hand and wanted to use up, and also because I'm pretty sure I was in the wrong grocery store to find "cranberry beans." I used frozen chopped onions- (I know, but it's what I had) two 14 oz cans diced tomatoes, 1 can small white navy beans in lieu of the cranberries, and a large bunch of romaine lettuce instead of swiss chard and cabbage. I refused to pay $4.99 for the chard and I forgot to buy the cabbage. I did throw in about a half cut of large carrot dices that held up well, and fresh green beans cut into 1/2 in pieces. Lovely. That being said, everything else I left untouched- except- I did cut a bit of the parm rind and throw it in while it simmered- awesome call. It was amazing. We had a beautiful loaf of three cheese garlic bread from our local bakery to dredge up the beautiful sauce between hearty bites. I will be placing this recipe in my PERMANENT collection, and you should too.
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Reviewed: Oct. 24, 2012
This soup is excellent! I made as written with the exception of the beans. I couldn't find cranberry beans and I don't really care for garbanzo beans. In their place I used light red kidney beans and cannellini beans. Also, I never cook my pasta in the broth....I always cook it separate and add to the individual serving bowls. This helps the pasta not get mushy and soak up all of the broth if I want to save some for later or give some away. If I do give some away, I always give a bag of pasta to go with it! I will definitely be making this one again.
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Photo by Janmarie1964

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Elmira, New York, USA
Living In: Apalachin, New York, USA
Reviewed: Jun. 27, 2012
Excellent dish. Liked the pancetta and I would recommend adding more to the recipe. My husband who is Portugese loved this dish and even said his parents would have enjoyed. Grocery store unfamilar with cranberry beans but I looked it up on the internet and now know what they are. John excellect selection of spices as it has the right amount of spicyness. Highly recommend!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Boise, Idaho, USA
Reviewed: Feb. 12, 2013
Wanted to make minestrone with what I had on hand, but didn't think I could do it without zucchini and carrots. Then luckily, I ran across this recipe which called for just about everything I had. It turned out fantastic, thanks Chef John! It's my favorite minestrone I've ever made or eaten out. My whole family truly enjoyed it. I am vegetarian, so I left out the meat and cheese, but added portabella mushrooms which I sauteed with the celery & onions. Instead of Italian seasoning, I used fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs. I used dried great northern beans, and added the cooking water to the soup which added a lot of flavor. Also, I cooked the pasta separately and added to individual bowls because I didn't want it to get soggy. The cabbage made the soup really delicious. I used savoy cabbage because that's what I had on hand. And for the first time, my family ate Swiss chard without complaining...success!!!
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Reviewed: Dec. 2, 2012
This is a great recipe. I of course changed it a bit as chef john suggests most people will do. My changes were I didn't put in any cabbage or Swiss Chard as I don't care for those very much in my soups. Also the plum tomatoes I used two cans of diced tomatoes with green chilli's instead. I am a garlic addict.. so I doubled the garlic... probably will not do next time as it was a little too strong even for me. For the beans I used red beans, and garbanzo. Anyway, it was great, loved it and will definitely make it again. this recipe has earned a permanent spot in my recipe book.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: San Diego, California, USA
Photo by Stirring up Trouble
Reviewed: Oct. 11, 2012
I thought this was a fabulous recipe and very easy to make. Of course, I love Chef John's recipe, always flavorful and he allows enough room for individual creativity and diversity with personal flavor preferences. Here are the few subtle changes I made: 4 ounces pancetta because that is the portion I purchased from Trader Joe's, instead of cranberry beans, I used a can of white beans, instead of a 28 ounce can of tomatoes I substituted 2 15 ounce cans of basil-garlic chopped tomatos, left out the cabbage and used all Swiss Chard. Lastly, I used 1/2 cup red wine in place of some of the water. Seasoned to taste. Thank you again Chef John!
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Reviewed: Feb. 27, 2013
The soup is just as good using common ingredients like bacon, cannelini beans (or garbanzo), any kind of pasta, etc. I did find Parmigiano-Reggiano but this is another way over priced ingredient. Just use the standard shredded Parmesan and it will be just as good.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Living In: Phoenix, Arizona, USA

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Reviewed: May 31, 2014
This is a fantastic recipe that is so delicious. I did not have dried cranberry beans or canned garbanzos; used 2 cans red kidney and one can cannellini. Chef John's recipes are so good, I stick with what is written if I have everything listed in the recipe. If not, then substitutions are made out of necessity, primarily. This time, I did add some fresh oregano and rosemary because it is in my garden and fresh herbs always make recipes so vibrant. LOVED this soup -- but it makes ALOT OF FOOD! Oh, I did add 1/2 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to the soup -- it's some thing I add to most of my Italian soups and sauces---
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Houston, Texas, USA

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Reviewed: Jan. 18, 2013
next time try bacon, did as directed but used pinto beans very excellent but pancetta very expensive 3oz. $5.00
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Home Town: San Marcos, California, USA

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Reviewed: Feb. 23, 2013
My third time making this recipe--love it. Easy to adjust, to what you have on hand. I kept the base recipe the same--chicken broth, tomatoes, onions, carrots, garlic and spices. I've used black beans, have made it with chard the first time, then with a bag of "greens", which I kept to about 2 cups. I left out the garbanzo beans and red flakes, as I thought that may be too much. I made it with pancetta the first time, was very good. Second time, I used chicken Italian sausage, to make it a little healthier. Another adjustment--I leave out the water, and as the soup reduces, I may add a little more chicken broth, but that's it. That's just my preference--I like a thicker, richer soup. I also cook the pasta separately. Finally, I add some nice grated parmesan---delicious! Thank you, Chef John.
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