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Minestrone my way … delicious!

So many veggies, so few recipes ... make a minestrone soup that's part tradition, part vegetarian and all yummy.

I may not be writing much these days, but our CSA farm’s harvest has been so plentiful this season that I’ve been busy blanching and freezing green and yellow beans, making salsa from the Roma tomatoes and making and freezing fresh tomato sauce for this winter. Oh, there have been some batches of my easy lentil vegetable soup in there as well, and now I’ve got a new recipe for minestrone soup to share with you.

My friend Laura and I have mastered the art of the “found” lunch. Every so often we have a lunch playdate and we each just bring what we’ve got and we end up with a spread fit for a king — or at least two five-year-olds and their moms. Homemade hummus, veggies sticks, fresh fruit, homemade bread and raw seed wafers are often on the menu, and last week when we met at Laura’s house, she had some fresh, homemade minestrone soup to share with us — made from her CSA farm harvest.

When we got back from the farm this weekend, we were quite overwhelmed by the amount of food we had. I was prepared to cook up a huge batch of my favorite lentil soup (again) when Keith asked me if there was a green bean soup recipe we could do. I immediately thought of Laura’s minestrone, chock-full of green beans, and thought I’d take a stab at my own version of minestrone — a soup I’d never made before.

I popped by Food Network’s website to see when to add the pasta and one other little tip caught my eye: In their version of minestrone soup, they mash half of the kidney beans to make a thicker, more flavorful broth. Yes please! So I stole that idea and gleefully mashed my kidney beans. The rest is all me — I swear!

Minestrone My Way

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  • 2 onions, diced
  • 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3-4 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch segments
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained, and mash half the beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons Better than Bouillon veggie base (or thereabouts)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound pasta (I used brown rice penne)
  • about 4-6 kale leaves, chopped into 1/4 – 1/2 inch sections
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, freshly grated

Heat some olive oil in a large pot and saute the onion and garlic until fragrant, about one minute. Add the carrots and zucchini and cook until tender, about five minutes.

Next, add water, Better than Bouillon, tomatoes and green beans and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and simmer for about 10 minutes. Toss in herbs and seasoning, kidney beans (mashed and whole) and kale and cook until heated through. Add parsley and remove from heat.

This soup is designed to be served with lots of freshly grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese. If you plan to veganize it — gasp! — you might want to add a bit more of the Better than Bouillon to compensate for the lack of salty cheesy goodness.

Photo Credit: Debbie McDuffee

2 Responses to “Minestrone my way … delicious!”

September 29, 2010 at 2:32 PM

That looks really good! I’m excited that it’s starting to be soup season again.

September 30, 2010 at 10:33 AM

It’s REALLY good. I generally get sick of soup after two servings in a week. Not so with this one.

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