Friday, April 12, 2013

Green Vegetable Minestrone

I love soups - all soups.  But minestrone is a special one for me, because it's vegetarian, delicious, healthy, and awesome.   That's why I was intrigued when I stumbled upon a recipe for a green minestrone; leeks, celery, zucchini, Swiss chard, etc.  I decided to try it out when it was just Mom and I home one night last week.

Besides the fact that it was a lot of veggie chopping, since there are 7 different vegetables in the soup, it was a pretty easy meal to throw together.  You do have to simmer the veggies to let them cook for 15 minutes, so that takes some time, but it's mostly a hands-off kind of food.  You even cook the pasta in the same pot, which is always nice when there is only one pan to clean!

The problem is that the day I made the soup happened to be the day that my mother lost her sense of taste.  Don't worry - it's mostly back - but she lost it almost completely.  However, she didn't realize that she had lost it, so she just thought that my soup had no taste whatsoever!

To be completely honest, the soup is not totally full of flavor.  It is a more subtle, hearty soup where the vegetables are the stars.  You really taste the peas, the potatoes, the celery - kind of unlike the ones I have been making lately that are spiced with random things like cinnamon or cumin or lemongrass.  This one had no spices at all, besides garlic, salt, and pepper.  Then at the end, you toss in some chopped basil or parsley (I had parsley and I thought it went great in there).  In the end, unfortunately, a lot of it got tossed out (the recipe makes a huge amount!), and I think I have just gotten my family accustomed to strongly-flavored soups!  I think that using vegetable broth or chicken broth instead of the water would really boost the flavor up a lot, so do not consider this soup a lost cause.

Note: the pasta drinks up lots of the broth, as you can tell in this picture, which I snapped after we ate!  So be prepared to add some more water if you reheat :)


green vegetable minestrone

from Eating Well 

  • Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 small leeks, white and light green parts only, quartered, washed and sliced
  • 2 small stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup whole-wheat short pasta, such as elbows, bowties or shells
  • 8 cups chopped green chard leaves
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed (I used cannellini because my family hates chickpeas!)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil


1) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add leeks, celery, onion and 1-2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add zucchini, potato and garlic and cook, stirring, about 1 minute more. Add water and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

2) Add pasta and chard; cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add chickpeas and peas and simmer until the pasta is just tender, 3 to 4 minutes more. Season with pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Top with Parmesan and parsley (or basil). Serve immediately.

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