Comforting Minestrone: #64 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

This is one of my favorite meals from when I was little. My mom made this about once a week, and the full pot was well depleted by the time we all had second and third bowls. You can put any veggies you have on hand into minestrone, but this version works well with kids. It’s also vegan-friendly if you leave off the cheese sprinkled on top.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($12 total for a big pot)

6 potatoes, diced – $1.08
1 head cauliflower, cut up into small pieces (optional – my mom’s recipe doesn’t have cauliflower, I just happened to have some on hand so I threw it in) – $2.49
1 can crushed tomatoes with basil, blended – $1.50
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28
1 tsp oregano – $0.28
1 carton chicken or vegetable stock – $1.99
1/2 package spaghetti, broken up – $1.50
2 cans cannellini beans – $1.58
1 cup frozen peas – $0.50
1 cup frozen corn – $0.50
Water – free
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese for sprinkling at the table (optional) – $2.00


1. In a large pot, heat the chopped up potatoes, cauliflower, and stock all together over medium-high heat. Blend the tomatoes with the olive oil, garlic powder, and oregano, then add to the pot. Add enough water so the potatoes are just barely floating on the surface (not completely covered). Bring to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the veggies are tender.

2. Turn the heat up to medium, toss in the broken up spaghetti, and cook for 10 minutes more, until the pasta is al dente (not crunchy and not mushy, but somewhere in the middle). Last, add in the beans, frozen peas and corn (this cools it off to a nice eatable temperature), and salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together, taste once more to make any last salt adjustments, and serve with pecorino romano cheese and freshly ground pepper for those who want such garnishes. Enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)  

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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