What are you up to
this long Labor Day weekend?
We're going to catch up on things around the house .. hang out at a neighborhood potluck .. and try some new and creative ways to cook vegetables
Between the CSA .. my parents .. and wonderful neighbors .. our countertops are filled with all things veggie. I admit to being slightly overwhelmed around mid-week .. yikes .. what a great problem to have (!!)
So I decided to take a cue from my Mom .. who's become a true master at processing her garden's produce. It always makes me smile in the dead of winter when she says “I pulled a bag of cooked-down tomatoes out of the freezer and put them in my .. “
The word minestrone means big soup in Italian .. and that's just what this is .. a rich flavored chunky vegetable and pasta soup. It's always a welcome meal .. not to mention a great way to make the most of seasonal veggies (Don't forget you can use this as a starting point .. and vary your choices throughout the year)
This recipe freezes well .. and makes quite a big batch. After sharing with a few friends .. I still had plenty to divide into portions in plastic bags to freeze & use sometime down the road.
A few notes ..
If you're like me & aren't planning to serve your soup right away .. skip the pasta. Instead .. cook it separately for when you need it (pasta will swell as it sits in any left-over soup)
If you lay your bags flat in the freezer .. they'll not only store a bit better .. but take less time to defrost .. which is always a bonus
When making a soup with a lot of mixed veggies .. add them in phases .. from the longest cooking first to the fastest last
~ Adapted from foodnetwork .. here
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 small eggplant, chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, chopped
- 2 red onions, chopped
- 1 yellow squash, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 2 cups green beans, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- kernels from 2-3 ears of fresh sweet corn
- 5 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 Tbsp Italian herb blend
- 3 cups magic mineral broth (** vegetable or chicken stock will work as well)
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups tomato sauce
- ¾ cup red wine (optional)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1 cup small pasta shells (** for a gluten-free option I like the Jovial brand)
- ¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (+ more for serving)
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, add the celery, carrots, garlic, onion, and parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the carrots have begun to soften (~ 8-10 minutes)
- Stir in the eggplant, potato, yellow squash, zucchini and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender but still hold their shape (~ 15 to 20 minutes)
- Add the broth, water, and tomato sauce. and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. At this point, add the red wine (if you're using) .
- Reduce the heat to low and add the green beans, corn, italian herb blend, salt and a few heavy pinches of pepper. Turn the heat down to low, partially cover, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Return to a boil and stir in the pasta. Simmer, stirring once or twice, until the pasta is al dente or even a little more tender (cooking time will depend on the shape and brand of pasta you use)
- Add more broth or water to thin the soup, if you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the tomatoes, parmesan and basil. Let cool to warm or room temperature before serving (the soup will thicken as it cools)
- Serve with additional grated parmesan and crusty bread.
% Protein: 7
% Carbs: 46
% Fat: 36