late summer minestrone

late summer minestrone | The Clever Carrot

Summer ain’t over yet, people.

Apparently, this whole ‘fall into autumn’ thing is really stressing me out. I’ve been frantically packing away, canning, and freezing whatever I can get my hands on like it’s the end of the world. And in a sense it really is; summer produce is like gold. So while the shops seem to be flaunting their early Halloween (and Christmas?!) decor, I’m going to tell you about my latest attempt to savor summer.

You’ll find all of the usual suspects in this soup with the addition of sweet potatoes and quinoa for a little something different. I also like to puree a small portion to give it body. The ingredients can be varied according to your liking, however it’s nice to add a variety of different colors and textures. To serve, all you need is a handful of fresh basil leaves and a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Oh, and bread! Good crusty bread is a must. This soup makes a great lunch, or a light yet satisfying dinner.

late summer minestrone | The Clever Carrot


  • I like to keep a large ‘garbage’ bowl nearby so that I can quickly toss away any scraps. It will keep you neat and organized, especially when counter space is lacking.
  • If you are making this soup in advance, it is best to keep the spinach and quinoa separate, only adding it right before serving. 
  • If fresh basil is unavailable, you can substitute with a small dollop of pesto.
late summer minestrone
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 4 oz. pancetta, finely diced
  • 2 leeks (white & light green part only)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled
  • ½ c. diced haricots verts
  • 1 yellow summer squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 quart chicken stock + more to taste
  • 1x 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1x 14 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ lb. baby spinach
  • ½- 1 c. cooked quinoa
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, reserving some for garnish
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • parmesan cheese
*If you are making this soup in advance, it is best to keep the spinach and quinoa separate, only adding it right before serving.
*If fresh basil is unavailable, you can substitute with a small dollop of pesto.
  1. Cook quinoa according to the package instructions. Set aside.
  2. In a large dutch oven, warm a splash of olive oil over moderate heat. Add the pancetta, and saute until golden.
  3. Roughly chop the leeks, carrot and celery. Add the vegetables to the pot and saute until soft, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Roughly chop the peeled sweet potatoes, haricots verts, yellow summer squash and zucchini. Saute for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  7. Add the beans.
  8. Spoon a large ladle (mostly sweet potatoes) into a blender and puree. This will help to thicken the soup. You can also use a hand-held blender. Add the puree back to the pot and stir well.
  9. Add the basil leaves.
  10. Add the spinach.
  11. Add ½ c. of quinoa, and adjust consistency with more chicken stock if too thick.
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Garnish with extra basil leaves, a drizzle of good olive oil, and parmesan cheese.
  14. Serve immediately with crusty bread.


  1. says

    Perfect healthy (and delicious) eating! And so seasonal too – it’s a shame we can’t hold onto summer longer, but if we did, when would we ever get pumpkins? ;-)

  2. says

    yummy…I love how you added sweet potato and spinach. Minestrone soup is one of my favorites and a dollop of pesto is mandatory in our house. Everyone seems to want to rush into fall but there is so much more to stash away, right ;)

  3. says

    What wonderful soup! I’m with you on pureeing a bit to give some body to the preparation. I think that step really adds a lot to soups like this. I’m also with you on the cheese… and oh right the bread…..

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