Minestrone is a thick soup of vegetables / beans, usually with the addition of pasta. It has a long history that goes back to the pre-Roman days, and used to be made mostly with the leftovers of poor families that seek to stretch their food resources. It is considered part of the cucina povera, or poor kitchen. Evolved over the years, as any good recipe does, reflecting the economies and eating habits of the people who make it, so I thought it was appropriate to add quinoa (instead of pasta) and cabbage to this classic soup.
Do not let all the ingredients scare you. All you are really doing is cutting the vegetables into a medium sized (about the size of chopped corn) and putting everything in a large pot. It's quick, easy and you're ready to eat in about 40 minutes without much effort on your part, and it's good for more than one meal. Make a really big pot and freeze what you do not use in quart containers. They last for months and will be a lifesaver when you can not or do not want to cook.
To celebrate this harvest moment, when there are fresh local vegetables available almost everywhere, explore the farmers' markets, stop at the farm stalls or take your favorite fresh vegetables whenever you can and do a minestrone. Express yourself!
1 sweet onion – cut in medium cubes 2 stalks of celery – cut into medium cubes 3 carrots – cut into medium cubes 2 tablespoons of olive oil – or enough to cover the bottom of the pot 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped 2 cups of fresh zucchini – cut into medium cubes (about 1 medium or 2 small) 2 cups of green beans – cut into 1-inch pieces 1 pepper – medium-sized dice 1.75 pounds of fresh tomatoes or 1 x 28 ounces of crushed tomatoes 4 cups of water 1 can of cinnamon of 15 ounces 1 can of chickpeas of 15 ounces 1 cup of quinoa 2 cups of kale – stems removed 1 teaspoon of turmeric (or to taste) Pinch of red pepper flakes Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with Parmesan cheese to taste.
Garnish with chopped basil or rosemary.
1. Place a large pot over medium heat and add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes or until it softens.
2. Add the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook for about a minute or until the garlic begins to color.
3. Add zucchini and green beans, season with salt and pepper, add turmeric, stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes and water, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
5. Lower the heat to medium / low and let the soup boil gently (uncovered) for about 20 minutes.
6. Add the quinoa and cover for 15 minutes.
7. Remove the cover, add the kale and canned beans (more water if necessary), gently boil again and cook for another 5 minutes or just until the kale is tender.
What is your favorite healthy soup to cook to combat the chills of winter?
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