Radha Ma’s Renaissance Recipe: Ma’s Minestrone

Updated: Apr 7, 2018

A tried, tested, and treasured recipe. Loved for its hearty, rich, and comforting vibration. A community favorite often served and devouredduring our 7-day spiritual retreats. Served with home baked bread (and butter of course!) and a big green salad. This is a guaranteed winner-meal for a universal audience, which works beautifully for us as a welcome soup for our guests.

Serves 8 to 10

Note: You should make this soup a day ahead of serving—or at the very least—prepare it in the early morning hours and then once it has boiled, let sit till evening. The greens however should be added the day it is served.


  • 1 ½ cups dried garbanzos

  • 1 ½ cups kidney beans

  • 10 cups filtered water

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 entire head garlic, cut in half horizontally

  • 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt


  • 2 large onions, minced (18 ounces / 520 g)

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano

  • 2 red bell peppers, diced

  • 5 large ribs of celery, diced

  • 1 large carrot, diced

  • ¼ cup plus 1 heaped tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 bunch fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried thyme

  • 3 tomatoes, washed and chopped (20 ounces / 570 g)

  • 24 ounces / 680 g passata (Italian crushed tomatoes)

  • 1 cup filtered water

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • ½ teaspoon chili flake

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 2 bunches fresh basil leaves

  • 4 ounces/ 110 g fresh spinach leaves

  • 2 cups dried miniature pasta, pre-cooked al dente (like stelline, orzo, pignolina, etc.)

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Optional garnish

  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


For the beans: place all the ingredients into a pressure cooker, and seal the lid tight. Cook on high heat, and listen out for the vapor releasing to begin timing 45 minutes. Cut the heat, and release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Open the lid immediately, and let the beans sit until you are ready to add them to the soup.

For the soup: in a large soup pot, sauté the onions, in 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, with the pink Himalayan salt, black pepper, and dried oregano for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the onion is soft.

Add to the pot the bell peppers, celery, and carrot, and sauté for another 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the garlic and thyme, and continue cooking another 5 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and passata, along with 1 cup filtered water (I add this water to the passata jar first, to get every last bit of tomato purée), along with the sugar, chili flake, and bay leaves. Sauté for 10 minutes.

For the miniature pasta, bring a small pot of water to boil with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt, and cook the pasta according to the brand directions—do not overcook. Drain immediately, and drizzle the pasta with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, pink Himalayan salt, and dried oregano. Set aside. 

Transfer the cooked beans, with their liquid, to the soup base. Wash and pat dry both bunches of basil leaves, and add just one bunch of leaves to the soup. Bring the entire soup back to a simmer. When you are just ready to serve, add in the spinach leaves, the rest of the second bunch of basil leaves, and heat through for 2 to 3 minutes to wilt the greens. 

Before serving, add about ¼ cup cooked pasta to each bowl, ladle the soup into the bowls and garnish with grated Parmigiano cheese.

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