Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

I get bored eating the same vegetable soup over and over and I'm always on the prowl looking for new or different soups to serve.  My favourite soups are of a creamy or chowder texture and vegetable soups are more to Don's liking. But I'll eat any soup. 

Minestrone Soup is one of the vegetable soups I do really like.  It's Italian in origin, but we Newfoundlanders love it too.  It is, after all, just another vegetable soup but to my mind the garlic, herbs and zucchini is what sets it apart from what I would consider a more traditional vegetable soup that many Newfoundlanders would make.

Much to it's credit, this soup doesn't take very long to put together and can be ready to eat in about two hours.  

Minestrone Soup
⅓ cup vegetable/canola/olive oil
2 onions, peeled and diced small
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
1 large potato, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, cut
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 cups cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 medium clove of garlic, minced 
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon basil
1 bay leaf
5 cups vegetable stock or use vegetarian bouillon cube
2 cups water
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes,cut up 
1 can white beans(northern or cannelini), rinsed and drained
¼ cup small dry pasta such as shells or macaroni, etc, cooked according to package directions

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and sauté 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, green beans, zucchini, cabbage and garlic and seasonings.  Stir and sauté until all the vegetables have started to soften, about another 5 minutes.   Add the liquid and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 1-1½  hours.  Before serving add the beans and cooked pasta.  Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.

Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, if desired and a good hunk of crusty garlic bread. 

Makes at least 8 servings.

Many a good soup starts with onions, celery and carrots sautéed in oil and so it is with Minestrone Soup.  Sauté the vegetables until starting to soften.  Add the remaining vegetables and herbs and sauté another few minutes before adding the liquid and tomatoes.  Simmer for about an hour and then add the beans and pasta.

A beautifully colourful soup, full of vegetables and tomatoes.  
The Minestrone Soup tastes as good as it looks.

Minestrone Soup makes a filling meal, especially with a slice or two of garlic bread.

A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese adds a nice touch and flavour to the soup.
 Hot soup on a cold day--now that's amore!


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