This week’s recipe is for Minestrone Soup, made with fresh tomatoes. Minestrone is an Italian vegetable soup, made with mixed veggies and beans in a tomato vegetable broth. Usually, I make minestrone using canned stewed tomatoes, but with the abundance of tomatoes available this time of year, I decided to recreate this classic soup using juicy farm-fresh tomatoes.
The result is ahh-mazing! To create that herbal stewed flavor that you get using canned tomatoes, I cooked the fresh tomatoes first along with herbs and olive oil and added them back in later. Oh, the yumness.
Hearty, warming and delicious, minestrone is a great recipe as we transition into the cooler weather of autumn. My recipe below is naturally gluten-free and vegan, but the options for customization are endless! Here are a few suggestions:
- Add pasta. You can add ½ cup elbow-shaped pasta (or another small pasta) along with the zucchini in step 3. You may need to add a little cooking time to ensure pasta cooks completely. (If the pasta soaks up too much liquid, add more broth.)
- Use seasonal veggies. In this recipe I used zucchini, but you can substitute for several different types of seasonal vegetables including green beans, broccoli and cabbage. Get creative! You can also substitute the kale for spinach, chard, or almost any other hearty green.
- Try a different type of bean. Other beans that taste great in minestrone soup include red kidney beans, cannellini beans and garbanzo beans (aka, chickpeas). Use whatever you have on hand or mix multiple types together!
Try some of these ideas or come up with your own! This recipe serves [at least] 8, so you can make it for guests or make a big batch early in the week and reheat for an easy weeknight dinner.
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) olive oil
- 4 medium-sized tomatoes, roughly diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 15-ounce can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or 4 cups of water and vegetable bouillon)
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced into half-rounds
- 1 bunch kale or chard, roughly chopped
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Grated vegan parmesan for serving (optional)
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add tomatoes, garlic, oregano, thyme and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes or until tomatoes have become very soft and turned into a chunky sauce. Pour into a heat-safe bowl and set aside.
- Heat additional 2 tablespoons olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, then add carrot. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add white kidney beans, bay leaves, vegetable broth. Bring to boil then add zucchini and simmer until zucchini starts to soften, about 7-8 minutes.
- Add kale/chard and parsley. Cook for a few minutes until kale/chard is wilted. Add balsamic vinegar and remove from heat.
- Serve warm, topped with vegan parmesan cheese, if desired. A little crusty bread on the side doesn’t hurt either!