I knew I could come up with a healthy, hearty, immune-boosting soup using some pantry staples that I had stocked up on, amid our Covid 19 isolation period.
After searching the web for ideas, I discovered that Minestrone Soup didn’t come with a solid recipe. Perfect for Nutritionists like me, who prefer to play around and be creative That being said, there are a few staples that did repeat themselves through various Minestrone recipes, however, the rest of the soup was fair game. The staples are crushed tomatoes, pasta, and beans. The rest of the veggies, I figure, we can get creative with. So, let’s build a loose recipe for Minestrone, and see what happens.
What I had on hand was a few potatoes, onion, celery, carrots, green beans and spinach. The canned goods were the staples of the soup: kidney beans, vegetable stock, pasta, and crushed tomatoes.
Don’t have those ingredients? Swap cabbage for spinach, use any type of pasta you can get your hands on (even broken up lasagna noodles), swap zucchini for green beans, and use water instead of vegetable broth.
In a big stock pot, sautee 1/2 diced onion, 2 celery stalks and 2-3 potatoes in some olive oil, and cook onions until they are clear. Add in a splash of veg stock, put a lid on the pot, and let the potatoes steam for a few minutes.
In the meantime, cook 1 cup of pasta, drain and set aside.
Crush 2 cloves of garlic, peel, and set aside for 5 minutes. This allows for the garlic’s antioxidant compound, allicin, to activate. Loosely chop 2-3 carrots and add the to the pot, along with the garlic, minced well.
Add 1 can diced or crushed tomatoes, 1 L carton of vegetable broth, Italian herbs and spices. Chop the ends off of a handful of green string beans, cut beans into smaller bites, then add to soup. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a low boil for a few minutes.
Rinse and drain a can of beans – kidney, white navy, or chickpeas work well. Add rinsed beans and 1-2 handfuls spinach to the soup. Reduce heat to a low simmer for 20 minutes, or until all the veggies are cooked and tender.
Add in your cooked pasta when ready to serve. Toast up some fresh sourdough bread, ladle yourself a cup of Minestrone Soup, and nourish your soul.
(loose) Ingredient list:
2 celery stalks
2 cloves garlic
Handful green string beans, or 1 can , or half a zucchini
1-2 handfuls spinach, green cabbage, or swiss chard
1 can beans (kidney, garbanzo, or navy)
1 large can crushed tomatoes (I like the Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
1 C cooked pasta noodles (broken lasagna, elbow, alphabets, rotini, rigatoni)
Italian herbs and spices of choice (oregano, basil, or a blend)
1 carton vegetable broth (you can also use water plus a bullion cube)