Hearty Italian Stew

by Heather on November 15, 2011

The real name for this original dish is actually “Long Island Minestrone” but, well, I just couldn’t leave good enough alone.

And you may be asking me, “Why Long Island?”


Wanna know the answer?


I don’t know.  That’s helpful, right?

See what happened was my parents, many moons ago, found some pretty stellar recipes in old magazines that my Mimi used to get and then made them once or twice a month as dinners.  This was one of those dinners.  Served with cornbread and maybe a sliced apple on the side, my sister and I were getting a really healthy meal and it tasted OH SO bad for us.  I blame the sausage…we all know that pork, even in small amounts, makes things special!


Now believe you me, if I could find the magazine or recipe that this originally came from I would definitely be giving credit where credit is due.  It’s a great hearty soup that is perfect for winter months and the flavor is addictive.  However, my mom changed the recipe around a little and today I’m changing it a little bit more to add some extra protein, whole grains and fiber.

This takes me back to days after piano lessons (fun fact:  I took piano for 12 years!) when the West Texas wind was blowing like crazy and cut through your bones.  My sister and I would run out to the car after the lessons and our dad would have the heater blasting.  We’d be on our way home, talking about our day and probably fighting a little bit (me and my sister that is).  We would pull into the garage, run inside with our things and sit down at the table with big heaping bowlfuls of this soup and share the things we were doing that week.  You know, I always hated how our parents would make us talk about school and what was going on…but looking back on it I know that I secretly loved it.  I knew that they cared, that they wanted to know how life was going.  We’d get seconds if we were still hungry and Salah and I would help clean off the table.  We’d both sneak extra bits of sausage before my mom put the soup in the fridge and subsequently get a stern talking to about eating all of the meat.


Yep, those were the days :)


  • 1 lb mild or hot Italian pork sausage (you can also use turkey if you’d prefer)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaping cup of carrots, shredded or diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 very small head of cabbage, core removed and shredded (about 4 cups shredded)
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (mine had garlic and rosemary in them)
  • 24 oz vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups prepared quinoa (I just followed the instructions on the package to make mine)

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Remove the sausage from the casings (if you buy it in bulk that’s even easier) and crumble and brown it up.  Add in the onion and carrots and stir to combine.  Cover and let cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute.  Add the cabbage and zucchini, cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Stir everything to combine, then add the tomatoes, the stock, chickpeas, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer, covered, for about 20-30 minutes.  Meanwhile prepare the quinoa (I like to make it separate so it doesn’t get mushy in leftovers).  To serve add quinoa to the bottom of a big bowl and ladle the soup on top.  Stir to combine.  Devour.

I know I’ve said it a million times, but I love how recipes can bring back some of the best memories – even of the day to day things – in life.  And this?  This is one of those for me!

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food November 15, 2011

I think soup is one of those meals that will always bring back the best memories! It just reminds me of home. :-)


2 Liz @ Tip Top Shape November 15, 2011

This looks absolutely delicious!! Hearty stews like this are one of my favorite things to eat in fall/winter.


3 Jamie November 15, 2011

I can’t get enough of stews like this for autumn and winter! Usually pretty inexpensive, better when made ahead and reheated, chock full of healthy things and so delicious, warming and comforting! And the better to have some kind of connection to our childhood. And how I love the addition of quinoa!


4 Estela @ Weekly Bite November 15, 2011

I love stews like this! I need a bowl for lunch :)


5 Delishhh November 15, 2011

This is my kind of soup – talk about confort food. Need this now especially since it is getting cold i am craving some hearty food :)


6 Amy November 15, 2011

I don’t care what it’s called, it looks like the perfect comfort meal!


7 Jessica @ How Sweet November 15, 2011

This sounds so comforting! I love those bowls too.


8 Living The Sweet Life November 15, 2011

Sounds so comforting!! And it’s healthy … sounds like a winning recipe in my books.


9 Andrea November 15, 2011

I’m in love with soups, stews, and chilis right now. I love the way all the flavors come together and make something 100 times better than each individual ingredient. Plus, I can stick a good amount of veggies into it and hubby eats it right up! This recipe looks great… will try soon!


10 Andrea November 15, 2011

And… loved the childhood story. Really cute. Foods that remind me of childhood… Boboli pizza, Pilsbury cinnamon rolls, and oatmeal. Simple, but brings back memories. :)


11 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun November 15, 2011

I simply MUST make this. Putting it on the meal plan for next week.

PS – We use the same quinoa.


12 Anna @ On Anna's Plate November 15, 2011

Mmmm…perfect for cold weather. And I love your bowls! My grandmother had some like that!


13 Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) November 15, 2011

Looks totally comforting.


14 Mama Pea November 15, 2011

This looks so awesome. Can I sub pickles for the sausage? ;)


15 Heather November 15, 2011

you can TOTALLY sub pickles! they’re multi-purpose you know :)


16 Jenny November 15, 2011

This looks yummy! I love stew! Food can definitely bring back memories for sure! Music can do the same thing (I’m sitting in a coffee shop…and there is a song playing that’s bringing me back to the awkward Junior High Sock Hop days…yikes!!)
Love that you used Quinoa! I’m thinking I’ll need to try this :)


17 Urban Wife November 15, 2011

That is so true about memories associated with food – the same thing happens to me! p.s. I love the cool reflection on that last photo…awesome!


18 Cat Davis - Food Family Finds November 15, 2011

Oh goodness, this looks so wonderful. I love that little soup crock too!


19 Alexa @ SimpleEats November 15, 2011

I feel the same way about my mom’s tomato sauce…brings back so many memories! I love how one bite of food can do that :)


20 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen November 16, 2011

If it’s got quinoa in it then I’m sold. Love that stuff.


21 Kim in MD November 16, 2011

It’s so sweet that you are making recipes that your Mom made for you during your childhood! This looks delicious, and I love the story behind the recipe!


22 Chef Chuck November 25, 2011

Love the healthy blend! Thank you for sharing…


23 Heather @ InHerChucks March 5, 2012

Thanks for the inspiration! http://inherchucks.com/2012/03/02/hearty-italian-stew/ I can’t get enough of your yummy recipes!


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