My Vegan MOFO Post 1 is this hearty italian minestrone soup. Minestrone is a thick soup that is made with vegetables, pasta or rice, beans and some italian herbs. Minestrone soup is referred to 'cucina povera' (translates to 'poor kitchen' in italian) style of cooking which adheres to dishes with rustic and rural roots. The preparation and ingredients of minestrone soup has changed over the centuries and varies widely across Italy. It is probably one of the dishes that does not have a fixed recipe, which I think, serves as an advantage for the cook to get more creative.
The choice of vegetables is totally up to the individual. Some of the classic veggies included are onions, celery, beans and potatoes. This hearty soup makes for a satisfying meal. Give it a try!!
1 large onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, diced into 1/2 inch pieces (approx. 3/4 cup)
1 medium zucchini, diced (approx. 1 1/4 cup)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 1/2 cups organic low-sodium vegetable broth
14.5 oz can no-salt diced tomatoes
1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
15.5 oz can cannellini beans (or white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
1 cup whole grain elbow pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 - 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, adjust to taste (optional)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsely
3/4 tsp dried basil
For garnish (optional):
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
Fresh veggies work best for this recipe although you can substitute with frozen too.
In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add chopped garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for a minute until the flavor infuses.Add onion and cook until slightly translucent.
Add the carrots and celery and cook for 3-4 mins. Add the green beans and cook for 4-5 mins. Add the dried oregano, parsely and basil and cook for few mins.
Add the vegetable broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper and mix well. Reduce to the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until all the vegetables are tender, for about 10 mins or so.
Stir in the cannelini beans, pasta and zucchini and cook for 8-10 mins until the pasta and vegetables are tender. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, for 4-5 mins.
Add more salt & pepper, if necessary.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with vegan parmesan (mix of cashews + nutritional yeast). Serve hot with bread sticks.
For variation, you can use potatoes instead of zucchini, red kidney beans instead of cannelini beans and also farro (wheat-based grain) instead of pasta.
To know more about what other Vegan MOFO-ers are cookin' up, check out the entire list here!!
Makes 5-6 servings.