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Italian Minestrone Soup ~ Next to Grandma's Chicken Soup there is nothing more comforting than a pot of minestrone bubbling on the stove. This authentic recipe will warm you up, satisfy you, strengthen you and slim you down. Not bad for a bowl of soup.
When it comes to everyday soups, I alternate between a classic chicken stock soup and a bright red tomato / vegetable soup depending on what I feel like. These soups keep me cozy when it's cold and comfort me when I'm in the weather. They also help me lose weight because the high content of liquid and fiber fills you up without excess calories. And they are the best inexpensive recipe, making use of whatever is in the drawer.
That depends on who you ask. Minestrone is an ancient soup made throughout Italy, and the recipe varies quite a bit. For me, the key ingredients in minestrone are a rich garlic tomato broth, beans (must be kidneys!) Vegetables and small pasta. Ditalini It is traditional, but my store did not have it, so I used mini farfalle. Any small pasta will do.
But of course ‘great island'my minestrone, and that means a few things… I mash crushed tomatoes with a jar of roasted red peppers before adding it to the broth, this gives it a glorious deep crimson color and lots of extra flavor (no pale minestrone for me) . I use vibrant seasonal vegetables like pumpkin, golden beets, and broccoflower (I could have used Brussels sprouts as well), in addition to the usual suspects like green beans and carrots.
I don't follow a strict recipe, I just open a few cans, and cut and drop whatever is in the drawer. I always seasoned with bay leaves, garlic and some chili flakes to heat. Oh, and I add a Parm crust to the broth if I have one, add the perfect touch of umami “funk”.
As you can see, I like my minestrone on the thick side, almost stewier than soup. I like to prepare it and I want it to be satisfying.
The last step in making this minestrone is to add a few good handfuls of vegetables just before serving,… which could be tender spinach like the ones I used, or kale, Swiss chard, or even basil. They will wither in the broth almost instantly. A final Parmesan cheese dressing is essential to the experience, so don't skip it unless you're eating vegan.
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As long as you don't overcook the vegetables, this soup will be even better the next day, although I always thought the phenomenon was mainly due to the soup being ready and waiting for you, with no work involved 🙂
You've heard me say this before, but my secret weapon for weight loss is not a fancy diet, a pill, or a weird shake … it's soup! The magic of a healthy soup like this is that it fills you up and makes you feel full without many calories. You can eat as much as you want. Leave the carb paste even lower.
tvfgi recommends: a enameled cast iron soup pot
This Le Creuset pot is so pretty (and so heavy!) That I keep it on the stove 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so it's always handy when I want to make soup or stew. They come in a rainbow of colors, but somehow I always gravitate towards white because it shows food like nothing else. Yes, Le Creuset pots are expensive, but the other way to think about it is that they will be part of your family forever. Better list yours in your will, the kids will fight for it;)
Minestrone Soup ~ will warm, satisfy, fortify and slim you down. Not bad for a bowl of soup.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Makes 8 servings
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 butter spoons
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- several internal celery stalks plus leaves, sliced
- 32 ounces of chicken meat or vegetable broth.
- 2 bay leaves
- Parmesan rind optional but good!
- 26 ounces strained or crushed tomatoes I love Pomi
- 12 ounces roasted red bell peppers
- 2 diced carrots
- 1/2 small delicate pumpkin cut in half, seeded and sliced (without peeling)
- 1 golden beet, diced or cut into small pieces
- 2 cups sliced purple and orange cauliflower flowers if large
- handful of fresh green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium zucchini cut into half moons
- 1 or 2 sliced red jalapeño peppers or use dried chili flakes to taste, start with 1/2 tsp
- 15-ounce can of drained and rinsed beans
- 1 cup small cut cooked pasta like ditalini
- 2-3 handfuls of fresh vegetables I used baby spinach
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- fresh grated parmesan cheese
- extra virgin olive oil
Add the oil and butter to a large saucepan and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently. Add celery and cook for another 5 minutes. Add broth or broth, bay leaves, and cheese crust to skillet.
While the onions, etc. are cooking, purée the tomatoes and red peppers in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Add the tomato sauce to the pot and stir. Bring the soup to a simmer, lower the heat and cook for about 15 minutes.
Add the densest vegetables to the pot first, to give them a head start ~ I add the carrots, squash, and beets now. Let them simmer for about 10 minutes.
Then add the cauliflower, beans, zucchini, red bell peppers (or dried flakes if used), and beans. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. If the soup seems too thick, add a little water to dilute it.
Add the cooked pasta and then add the vegetables. Stir them in the soup until they have wilted.
Remove the cheese rind and the bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with cheese and a drizzle of oil, if desired.
Make this classic minestrone soup yours!
For an extra layer of flavor, sauté some diced bacon, sausage, or bacon along with the onions.
Swap the beans for chickpeas, white or black beans. If you love beans, add more than one type.
If you love potatoes, add them.
Add grated roast chicken or sausage for extra protein.