Homemade Minestrone Soup

So the windchill has been making it feel colder than -20 degrees Celsius here in Toronto, tempting many of us to consider moving to a tropical climate where it’s forever summer. (Or is that just me?) Either way, this weather is perfect for a warm bowl of soup. During my university days, I used to reach for canned soups, including canned minestrone, when I needed a comfort food fix during the winter months. But it’s such an easy soup to throw together in very little time, that I know this will be a favourite of yours too.

minestrone soup

This recipe, inspired by a recent issue of Vegetarian Times, features chickpeas which are great for protein and fibre to help you feel satisfied. Usually I default to canned beans, but this time I cooked my organic chickpeas in my brand new slow cooker I received as a Christmas gift from my sis, and froze the rest. It was so easy and saves so much money that I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to canned beans! I will feature details of “how-to” and why in an upcoming post after which I hope you’ll be a convert too!

My reservations with attempting this recipe actually came from my pet peeve of mushy overcooked pasta in homemade soups. However, the method of barely cooking it definitely helps prevent the swollen sloppy pasta mess that can sometimes happen with the leftovers. I can attest that my leftovers for lunch still had decently al dente pasta so that was a lovely thing indeed. I happened to have a little bit of orzo left in my pantry so I threw that in there but any small sized pasta will do. And of course feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you prefer and make it your own. I will try to post another winter warmer recipe soon and fill you in a little bit on what’s been going on lately!

Stay warm my friends,

Mira

Homemade Minestrone Soup (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in half moons
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 cups organic chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 jar of passata (or 28-oz can of organic crushed tomatoes)
  • small handful of orzo or any gluten-free small sized pasta of your choice
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or water with added Herbamare)
  • 1-2 cups filtered water
  • Herbamare and black pepper, to taste (about 1/2 tsp. each)
  • monster handful of baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley or fresh basil
  • sprinkle of organic parmesan or vegan cheese, for garnish

Make it:

  1. Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil in a large pot over medium heat for a few minutes until softened. Add the celery, carrots, zucchini and thyme and saute for a few minutes more.
  2. Add the chickpeas, passata, stock, additional water and Herbamare. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes then turn off heat and leave on the stove. The residual heat will cook the pasta by the time you eat it, about 5-7 minutes. (Trust me!)
  4. Stir in the baby spinach and basil just before serving. The heat from the soup will wilt the greens.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with additional parsley and a light sprinkling of parmesan, if using.
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