After being on the road and traveling for the last week, I missed cooking. Not only that, I missed eating REAL food. You know, whole foods, not processed garbage. Well, today was the perfect day for cooking- it was cold, windy and rainy...prime soup-making weather. So, that's what I did. And it was super yummy. Why minestrone? Two reasons: first, it is my favorite soup. Second, I had to make up for a terrible soup I ate on vacation.
You see, after my best friend's beach wedding, we went out to eat at a nearby restaurant. I ordered minestrone soup and some salad. The soup was a terrible let-down. It lacked pasta, beans and flavor. What it did have was cabbage and a few pieces of carrot. Boring. And not at all what I'd ever call a minestrone soup. So, I have been obsessing about minestrone ever since. I needed to make my own and erase that terrible experience from my brain. Sure, I've made minestrone before, but this is my new favorite recipe. Here's my other minestrone recipe if you're interested.
This soup is soooo filling! I absolutely love it. It's hearty and flavorful and overall awesome. It makes enough for about 6-8 bowls, depending on your appetite.
What you need:
- 3 medium to large carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 2 large stalks of celery, sliced (I slice mine thinnish)
- 1 small yellow squash, sliced
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 4 cups vegetable stock (I used Imagine brand)
- 15-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 8-oz can tomato sauce
- 16-oz can chickpeas, drained
- 16-oz can light red kidney beans, drained
- 2 cups water
- 2 1/2 TB olive oil
- 1/3 tsp celery seed
- 1/4 tsp celery salt
- 1 1/2 TB dried parsley
- 1/3 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp tarragon
- 1 TB dried basil
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, but recommended)
- 2 cups small dry pasta of your choice
- 2-3 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed
- salt and pepper to your tastes (minestrone isn't minestrone without lots of pepper)
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot that has a lid. Mine is an enameled cast iron dutch oven. Once hot, add the carrot, celery, and onion. Add your spices, minus the salt and pepper. Saute for about 4-5 minutes. Then add the garlic and squash. Cook another 4-5 minutes.
- Add the broth and water and scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing has become stuck. Stir in the chickpeas, beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Salt and pepper the soup. Cover with lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the dry pasta and baby spinach. Cover with lid and cook another 20 minutes. By now, the liquid will have reduced somewhat and the pasta will be cooked through. Check for seasoning and serve up with some crusty french bread. Enjoy!!