A good friend shared this 'copycat' recipe with me a few years ago. The ingredient list looks daunting, but keep in mind there are a lot of spices listed there too! The recipe calls for only 1/2 c. zucchini, but I always add a TON more, especially during the peak garden months. :) This is a wonderful, flavorful, and filling soup.
Olive Garden Minestrone
3 T. olive oil
1 c. minced white onion
1/2 c. chopped zucchini
1/2 c. frozen cut Italian green beans
1/4 c. minced celery (about half a stalk)
4 t. minced garlic (4 cloves)
4 cups vegetable broth (do not use chicken or beef...only vegetable)
2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, drained
2 (15 oz) cans small white or great northern beans, drained
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. carrot, julienned or shredded
2 T. minced fresh parsley (can sub dried)
1 1/2 t. dried oregano
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. dried thyme
3 c. hot water
4 c. fresh baby spinach
1/2 c. small shell pasta
Heat three T. olive oil over medium heat in large soup pot.
Saute onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini in the oil for 5 minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent.
Add vegetable broth to pot, plus drained tomatoes, beans, carrot, hot water, and spices.
Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency.