Recipes for Runners: Pimento’s Minestrone Soup

slack-for-ios-upload-30It’s fall, again. Time for all things pumpkin, boots, perfect weather for running and racing, and of course soup. Nothing caps off a long run or tough workout better than a runger-solving, soul-satisfying bowl of deliciousness that you can put in your food diary with pride. I’ve shared my recipe for my favorite kale salad before, and now that the temperatures have turned I find myself making big pots of soup at least once a week.

Maple gave us some great tips for meal prepping, and I consider making a large batch of this soup another form of meal prepping: left-overs for lunch for days! I didn’t put these click-bait terms in the title, but this soup can be vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or omnivorous with just a few easy changes, and can even be made in a slow-cooker. Enjoy!

If you are making this at mealtime, I suggest following the cooking instructions below. However, it is just as delicious to throw all the ingredients in a slow cooker in the morning, set the temperature on low for the day while you’re at work, and then toss in the noodles for 20-30 minutes on high when you get home. I most often make this for a Sunday dinner, then have it for lunch the rest of the week. It pairs deliciously with grilled cheese sandwiches or crusty bread … and a glass of red wine.

Pimento’s Minestrone


  • 2 strips of thick bacon, minced **leave this out for the vegan/vegetarian version, or omit because it’s fine without, replace with a glug of olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, small-diced
  • 1 leek, cut in half length-wise & sliced
  • 3-4 carrots, small-diced
  • 3-4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, small-diced (any color is fine, I like the yellow ones for looks)
  • 1 zucchini, small-diced
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt/pepper to taste (light on the salt because you’ll be using broth, heavy on the pepper because YUM)

Fry the minced bacon until crispy, then add the rest of the ingredients above and cook for ~10 minutes on medium-high until veggies start to soften but are not browning.



  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 Yukon Gold potato diced into cubes (keep the skin on, it’s good for you!)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans/chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4-6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (make it as soupy or thick as you like)

Add the above ingredients, bring to a slow boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.



  • 3 cups kale sliced into thin ribbons
  • 1/2 cup pasta (I used whole grain rotini, but gluten-free or regular elbows or shells or whatever you have works fine!)
  • 1 bunch fresh basil sliced into thin ribbons
  • 1-2 T balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar

Add these final ingredients and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Top with fresh parmesan, ground black pepper, and fresh basil.

  • For the carnivore: left-over meatballs dropped in for the last 10 minutes make a delicious addition (I’ll share my recipe for my mouth-watering pesto-meatballs soon!).

What’s your favorite fall-inspired recipe?

I'm an elementary P.E. teacher with a long-term, ongoing marathon addiction.The next big goal? Keeping up my BQ streak while aiming for a 3:10! I write about the not-so-glamorous side of running and fitting in serious training with a family while staying sane(ish).

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  1. I make a similar minestrone and it’s SO good. I actually like it better the next day 🙂 I finally found a really good vegan potato soup, I make this romesco spread to go along with the crusty bread so I don’t feel like we’re just eating potatoes, lol.

    1. Minestrone definitely gets better as the days go by and the flavors really mix and set in. I usually do little grilled cheese sandwiches on crusty bread with pesto, tomato, & a fresh basil leaf: the soup is so nearly fat-free that I need the richness of the cheese on the side.