Below is a recipe for a vegetarian minestrone style soup that uses pantry staples. We like making a big batch of this soup. It reheats well and is excellent for leftovers. The soup uses whole unprocessed ingredients that is great for our tummies (and body). It serves a crowd. With a few changes , this soup is good for fall, winter, spring or summer (although drinking soup during the hot summers in Sydney may not be a great idea). During fall, you should find all the vegetables in the market. In winter, use a can of good quality canned tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes. Be sure they are good quality and not over-seasoned with vinegar or salt.
On Vegetable Broth
A well made broth is the essence of making a good soup. Here is a recipe for a basic vegetable broth to make at home. Making your own vegetable broth at home is an excellent way to use up excess veg or using all those odd ends and bits that end up being thrown.
However sometimes you don’t have a homemade broth when you want it. So don’t worry – We all buy store bought at times. But choose carefully. Few points to note here :
- Check the labels. Avoid anything with too much sodium, gums and ingredients you may never have heard of .
- Some of the canned vegetable broths that might be alright ingredient wise, maybe too concentrated to use. In such a case dilute it for the recipe.
- Some bulk food stores (like Alfalfa House 🙂 ) , stock dry veg stock powders. These are mostly made of dehydrated veggies that are ground into a powder. This dry good quality veg stock powder without any additives is perhaps one of the better options than using the canned varieties of broth.
A Note on Sourcing the Ingredients for Minestrone Soup
As mentioned above, this vegetarian minestrone soup uses pantry staple ingredients. And good news – we have all the ingredients stocked in store at the Alfalfa Shop (read veggies, dried beans, olive oil, dried herbs, hard cheeses). Further this soup is a power house of vegetables, giving you more than 5 serves of veg in a single meal. Check out the below pic of our Alfalfa House shelves stocked with all the fresh produce that you will ever need for this soup. And if you are looking for a quick pick-me-up vegetable option, then order our weekly veggie box online here . Our weekly veggie box has you covered. Thereafter make a big batch of this soup with all the healthy package-free produce from Alfalfa House.That’s dinner sorted for a few nights a week 🙂
If you do make this soup, please share your photos and tag us on Alfalfa House Instagram. We would love to see your creations 🙂
Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
- 100 g dried beans cannellini, lima, butter beans are all excellent
- 4-5 medium garlic cloves peeled and chopped
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 1 large carrot chopped
- 2 medium celery stalks thinly sliced
- 450 g tomatoes canned or fresh
- 200 g zucchini
- 100 g greens baby kale, baby spinach or thinly sliced savoy cabbage works
- 1 litre basic vegetable broth See notes in the post
- 2 tbsp olive oil App. 30 ml
- 1/2 cup small pasta of choice like fusilli, penne, macaroni
- 1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
- 15 g fresh flat leaf parsley
- 15 g oregano fresh or dried
- 30 g hard cheese like a sharp cheddar or parmesan optional
Preparing the Beans
- Soak the dried beans overnight. Atleast for 8-10 hours. Soaking dried beans and legumes not only reduces their cooking time but is also great for digestion
- The next day, rinse the soaked beans thoroughly under cold running water. Then put the dried beans in a large pot with 3 cups of water and 2 peeled garlic cloves . Bring the water to a boil , then lower the heat, and simmer covered for atleast an hour OR until the beans feel soft and tender but not completely mushy
- You can use the beans immediately if preparing the soup OR let them sit in the refrigerator for upto 2 days and use them when you need to make the soup
Preparing the Soup
- Heat the olive oil in a deep soup pot. Add in the finely chopped onions and remaining 2 cloves of garlic. Saute for 8-10 minutes until the onions turn translucent and begin to brown
- Next add in the chopped celery and carrots . Add a pinch of salt and continue to stir for around 7-8 min more.
- While the onion-celery-carrot mix is in the stock pot, chop the tomatoes and zucchini into small chunks. Also finely chop the greens that you are using – If using Kale remove the tough stems in the kale
- Next Add in the dried herbs, chopped tomatoes, zucchini, finely chopped greens and vegetable broth in the soup pot. Give it a good stir, season with salt and let it simmer until the tomatoes start to turn mushy
- Once the veggies are semi-soft, add in the cooked beans and pasta of choice in the soup mix. Continue cooking until the pasta is al dente in the soup
- Ladle the soup in bowls. Check for seasoning and season with salt and black pepper as per taste. Garnish with finely chopped parsely , oregano and grated cheese. For a vegan version, skip the cheese and add in a glug of olive oil
Recipe Contributor : Adity Kaushal, (Volunteer and Member at Alfalfa House Co-op , Newtown)