I love to make a pot of soup on Monday. It will be dinner that night, then lunch and snacks throughout the week. If I make a Vegetarian Soup, even better, because it fits in with Meatless Mondays. This Classic Minestrone Soup from the Cookie and Kate website, fits the bill perfectly. It also allows me to use up vegetable scraps I’ve saved in my freezer to make a vegetable broth.
I just put all the celery leaves, onion skins, herb stems and mushroom stems in a pot, cover it with purified water, add a couple bay leaves, bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for a couple hours. Alternately, use purchased vegetable broth or, if you don’t want to have a vegetarian soup, use chicken or beef broth.
I like this recipe because it calls for seasonable vegetables so you can use what’s fresh and local. Also, you can personalize it to the vegetables you like. I used garbanzo beans instead of Cannellini beans and added some chopped cabbage because I feel it adds some heft to the soup. This soup can probably be made with things you already have in your pantry, making it easy and convenient.
Always taste your soup before serving, as it often needs salt or a little squeeze of lemon. I top this soup with a fine grating of Parmesan cheese, so it’s not technically vegan, but it tastes better to me this way and adds some unami flavor to the soup. I also like a little crushed red pepper on top, to spice it up a bit. Served with some warm, crusty bread, this soup makes a perfect Meatless Monday meal.
Classic Minestrone Soup by Cookie and Kate
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium ribs celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 cups seasonal vegetables (potatoes, squash, zucchini, green beans or peas)
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes with their liquid
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 bay leaves
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup orecchiette, elbow or small shell pasta
- 1 can (15 ounces) Great Northern or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups spinach, kale or collard greens, chopped
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnishing (optional)
- Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, tomato paste and a pinch of slat. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and the onions are turning translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Add the seasonal vegetables, garlic, oregano and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the diced tomatoes and their juices, broth and water. Add the salt, bay leaves and red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper.
- Raise heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot with the lid, leaving about a 1″ gap for steam to escape. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and add the pasta, beans and greens. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente and the greens are tender.
- Remove the pot from the heat, then remove the bay leaves. Stir in the lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Taste and season with more salt and pepper until the flavors really sing. Garnish bowls of soup with grated Parmesan, if you’d like.
Up Next: Cooking with Herbs.