Minestrone Soup

12:47 PM

Wow, it's been a long time! Last time I shared a recipe was back in February, when I was in the middle of midterms and getting ready for Valentines Day! Six months have passed, and I am finally back. Although I'm not making any promises. Whenever I do, I fail miserably. So right now, my blog posts will be random surprises ;). Since then, I have finished classes at SPU, began an online accounting class (which I am almost finished with!) and started a new job. The job is probably the main reason for my absence, as it is keeping me busy, making me tired and providing me with food... which means I have not been cooking as much as I should be. 

But I'm back. Still working, but a lot less than I was in the middle of summer. Which means more time to cook and eat at home. Yay! Lately, and sadly, I've been having a lot of heavier, more rich foods. I ate deeeelicious bbq pork ribs for about a week, last week. (I'll share that recipe someday). I wanted needed something light. So I decided to make some soup. And not just some soup. The best vegetarian vegetable soup ever. Minestrone soup.


I have made this soup several times in the last couple years. It is a very hardy, yet light soup. It is full of different vegetables (carrots, celery, onion, zucchini, green beans, spinach) and two types of beans (kidney and cannelloni). Doesn't that already sound soooo delicious?! To further increase the nutritional value, I use whole wheat pasta. It's a small change, and may take a little time to get used to, but it provides whole grains and more fiber. Whenever you can, try to sub whole wheat pasta for regular. Soon enough, you will get used to the texture and flavor :-) 

(Here is the soup without the topping. You can really see how hardy it is!)

The great thing about vegetable soups is that you can really use any type of vegetable you want, or have on hand. I have even used mushrooms in this soup before, and it was superb! One tip, try not to overcook your vegetables, or they lose a lot of their nutritional value. That's why it's recommended to add veggies like spinach and green beans toward the end, since they don't need a lot of time to soften.  Not overcooking vegetables is a good tip to keep in mind at anytime, whether when making vegetable soup or just sautéing vegetables. Try to eat raw fruits and vegetables as much as possible to get the highest amount of vitamins and minerals. When sautéing or baking, try to do it quickly and leave the vegetables with a little crunch :) 

I hope you give this soup a try. It is perfect for this time of year, when it's not too hot for soup or too cold, in which you would like a creamier soup. Many of the vegetables used are also in season right now, so you would be able to get them for a very affordable price and even fresh from the garden or farmer's market! Enjoy :)


Minestrone Soup
{Recipe adapted from cookingclassy.com}

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into quarters and then diced
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pasta (rotini)
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped green beans (frozen)
  • 2 cups slightly packed chopped fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
  • In a large pot, heat extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add celery, carrots and onion, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add minced garlic, basil, oregano and thyme, and sauté for another 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.
  • Add vegetable stock, diced tomatoes, bay leaves and sugar. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and zucchini. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add kidney beans and cannellini beans, and continue to simmer until pasta is cooked.
  • Stir in green beans, spinach and parsley and simmer until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm with finely shredded Parmesan cheese.

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