New Recipe: Very Veggie Minestrone Soup

Minestrone is brimming with antioxidant goodness.

Minestrone ~ brimming with antioxidant goodness. Credit: Karen Sheer

A wonderful soup to master, and eat everyday in cooler weather. A meal in a bowl! Hearty and Healthy and Gluten-Free

Two soups which I believe the home-cook should master are –  Chicken Noodle Soup, and a Classic Minestrone.
These techniques will allow you to tackle other soups, such as chowders and bisques.

My Minestrone is brimming with antioxidant goodness. The perfect soup for an everyday lunch, snack or addition to many entrées. I can eat this soup everyday! And -by doubling the recipe you can have enough to freeze and enjoy your efforts in weeks to come.

The technique starts with a quick sauté of the firmer veggies – the ones that can stand the longest cooking without sacrificing their texture. Tomatoes and flavorings are stirred in (garlic and seasonings) and toasted in the oil. Beans are added with the reserved tomato juice and broth (chicken or vegetable.) The soup then will simmer to engage all the flavors.

Lastly, the dry pasta and green beans are added, and stirred while simmering until al dente – the pasta will thicken the soup, and the beans will not lose their lovely color. The addition of Quinoa pasta make this soup Gluten-Free.

Serving suggestions are in the recipe – I love to top the soup with fresh herbs and a floating drizzle of the best extra virgin olive oil. Parmesan shavings and a dollop of pesto are welcome too!

Ingredients for the Minestrone. Credit: Karen Sheer

Ingredients for the Minestrone. Credit: Karen Sheer

Add at the end – pasta and fresh cut green and wax beans. Use gluten- free pasta if you choose – like this one. Credit: Karen Sheer

Add at the end – pasta and fresh cut green and wax beans. Use gluten- free pasta if you choose – like this one. Credit: Karen Sheer

Serve up portions of Minestrone in handmade bowls and float a drizzle of olive oil and fresh herbs on top. Credit: Karen Sheer

Serve up portions of Minestrone in handmade bowls and float a drizzle of olive oil and fresh herbs on top. Credit: Karen Sheer

Recipe: Very Veggie Minestrone

  • ½ cup dried garbanzo beans, preferably organic, about 1 1/2 cups cooked*
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil , divided
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • ½ cup leeks, washed, dried and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, peeled, chopped
  •  cup celery, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup celery root, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped, try multi-colored
  • 2 ½ cups zucchini, chopped, try a few varieties
  • 1 can san marzano peeled tomatoes in juice, drained, save the tomato juice
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, stemmed, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon marash pepper, or red pepper flakes (spicy as you like it)
  • 6 cups stock, chicken or vegetable, preferably homemade
  • 2 cups quinoa pasta, garden pagodas, or you favorite small pasta
  • cup green and waxed beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

    Method:
    In a large soup pot (I used enameled cast iron) add 2 T. olive oil, set the heat to low.
    Add the onions, leeks and garlic and cook, stirring until tender, but not colored, about 3 minutes.
    Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes from their juice, keeping the juice.
    Chop the tomatoes in large pieces, remove seeds if desired.
    Add the next 9 ingredients (celery through marash pepper) and the cooked garbanzo beans.

    Raise the heat to medium, add the remaining 1 T. olive oil and stir all ingredients to coat.
    Cook, stirring until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

    Add the 6 cups of stock, tomatoes juice (will have 2 cups.)
    Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.

    Add 2 cups of pasta and the green and waxed beans, cook uncovered for 3 – 5 minutes until very al dente – they will continue to cook in the hot broth, and thicken it too!
    Now taste for salt, add 1/2 teaspoon and stir – this will depend on the salt content of your stock.

    Remove the pot from the stove, and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    *Soak garbanzo beans in water to cover overnight. Drain, add to a pot with filtered water to cover by 1 inch. Cook until tender (do not salt, will toughen), about 30 minutes. “To the bite is good, they will continue to cook in the soup.

    Serving Suggestions:
    ~ Add 2 T. fresh herbs to the pot, or to individual bowls of soup. Basil leaves, thyme leaves, chopped rosemary…
    ~ Add a dollop of you favorite pesto to each bowl.
    ~ Grate some aged cheese on top, such as parmigiano reggiano or aged gouda.
    ~ Float some great quality fruity extra virgin olive oil on top of each portion of soup… RECOMMENDED!
    ~ Slice some kale or spinach finely, and add to the soup with the pasta, toward the end – when the soup is simmering.
    ~ Serve with crusty, warm bread for dipping.

    Tips:
    The soup is cooked uncovered, otherwise the veggies will be overcooked.
    Use other beans if you like, substituting the garbanzo beans. Borlotti (cranberry beans) are creamy in texture.
    Quinoa pasta make this soup Gluten-Free.

    This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer

    Karen Sheer lives and cooks in Greenwich. She is a professional chef, writer, caterer, photographer and food consultant specializing in original recipes. Her blog is “A Zest For Life”– Karen’s Obsession with Food and Style. Each recipe is inventive, original and well tested. Karen’s recipes are written to give you the feeling she is in the kitchen with you coaching step by step. Health and wellness are her passions. Karen’s recipes promote fresh, local ingredients which lead to a healthier lifestyle!

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