Monday, February 20, 2012

What's cooking? Minestrone soup! (vegetarian, diary/gluten free)

I just set up a new tab on my homepage called "Leaniepi Designs" to show off all my crafty goods. I will be updating it with lots of stuff, and am taking orders.  Please help support my crafting hobbies!  

I've been trying hard (as per my goals!) to make more of an effort to meal plan.  When I visited my friend last week I saw that she had this awesome meal plan/grocery list notepad (that I can't find online, but this one is similar).  I sat down with my husband and we planned out meals for the week, and made a shopping list. I then went and bought it all!  Part of that planning was making (and buying) for this soup recipe that I'd seen on pinterest.  It took me a week to make it, but I just finished my first bowl, and it was DELICIOUS!  My husband, who hates minestrone soup tries not to gag at the smell, but I'm overjoyed to have soup to eat. 

Minestrone Soup
(check out the origional URL for TONS of beautiful pictures)

Family Recipe

1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large 16 oz can of tomatoes
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 yellow zucchini, sliced and halved
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of chick peas
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
2 bay leaves
tabasco sauce or 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
3 cups of spinach, roughly chopped
2 fresh tomatoes
small pasta

Finely dice one onion and mince one large garlic clove. Put into a large pot with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute on medium/high heat until the onions are clear and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add 10 cups of water or chicken stock. Add one large can of plum tomatoes. Any tomato will do, such as diced or stewed. Bring the water to a boil on high heat, then lower the temperature to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. Then with a hand blender, blend the broth until the onions and garlic have been pureed and are no longer visible. You should puree the tomatoes a little to try and break them up, but keep them chunky and not completely blended.

Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables. Rinse the canned beans and set aside. Wash and dice the celery and carrots. Wash and slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch thick slices. Cut them in half to make half moon shapes. Once your vegetables have been prepped, add them to the pot. Season your broth with the salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, thyme, sage, 2 bay leaves and a few dashes of tabasco sauce. Bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer on low heat for 2-4 hours. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors will blend. This soup is even better the next day.

20 minutes before you're ready to serve, rinse and roughly chop 3 cups of spinach. Add the spinach and 2 whole tomatoes (stems removed) to your pot of soup. The tomatoes will break down in the hot broth, adding additional flavor and color to your soup. Also add your pasta at this time, about 3 tablespoons or 1/4 cup if you prefer a thicker soup. At this time, adjust the seasoning to your desired taste, adding additional salt and tabasco sauce. Continue to cook for 20 minutes and serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

changes to recipe:
  • I used almost entirely organic beans, stock and veggies. Organic is good :)...and Costco carries it. 
  • I used about 1/3 cup pasta elbow macaroni--it lead to me having like 3 pieces of macaroni per serving (no joke). You can add more, or none! 
  • I used red wine vinegar. I didn't need spice, and my husband wasn't going to touch it. 
  • I used two small yellow zucchini's. They cook down and don't taste squashish at all. At Trader Joe's, they come in a pair, so I figured I would use it all.    
  • My husband managed to use our last big tomato while I was gone so I dropped in two roma's during the last 20 minutes.  I can't complain, he made some awesome spaghetti sauce with it. 
  • I served it with a bit of parm cheese. Once again, for a dairy free version, leave it out !
I bought an immersion blender after reading this recipe. I knew I needed one anyways, but after buying one at Costco, I was blown away by all the stuff that it does.  That entire onion you need to chop? I used the blender! It was fun, quick and easy to clean up.  I bought one to help me make soups, I didn't expect that I could use it for baby food, smoothies, and chopping up veggies. I think I need to get rid of some cross purpose kitchen stuff, because I've gotten a little carried away over the last year. 


  1. Yum! Thank you for the recipe and tips!

  2. You know, Dan has been wanting me to make some Minestrone soup for awhile now. Might have to make a pot this weekend!


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