Snow, snow, snow. It feels like it’s been snowing forever. Everywhere I look, all I see is white. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty but personally, I’m hoping Phil the Groundhog was right and that spring will be soon upon us.
This weather just demands foods that are warm, filling and comforting. It is definitely a season for soup. I wanted to make a minestrone soup but I was questioning whether adding pasta was a requirement since I wanted to keep it as low calorie as possible. What actually is the difference between minestrone and a tomato-based vegetable soup?
So I turned to the endless source of all-knowledge (as provided by other people just like you and me), Wikipedia. In short, here’s what I found out (the history of minestrone soup is amazingly detailed but you can look that up yourself if you’re snowed in and need something to do): the term “minestrone” is Italian for “one soup” or “the big soup.” The name “Minestrone” is used for a variety of thick Italian soups made with veggies. There is no set recipe because people use whatever veggies are in season. Pasta or rice is optional. But Angelo Pellegrini, author of “The Unprejudiced Palate” and possibly the first person to publish a pesto recipe in the U.S., insists that the base be made of beans, particularly Roman beans. That sounded fine to me. The pasta was out, beans and extra greens were in. So here is my recipe for Minestrone Soup with Turnip Greens.
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 ½ cups green beans, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried cumin
1 tsp. dried paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1- 28 oz. can salt-free diced tomatoes
1- 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
8 cups low-sodium veggie broth or water
1- 15 oz. can cannellini beans
1 bunch turnip greens, chopped
Vegan grated parmesan cheese for garnish
Fresh basil or parsley for garnish
Spray a large pot with cooking oil spray and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and cook about 4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the celery, carrot, zucchini, and squash and cook for about 5 minutes until they begin to get tender. Add the green beans and spices and cook for another 4 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and the broth and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the beans and cook about 10 more minutes. Add the greens last and let cook just a few minutes so they can wilt.
Serve with garnishes of grated Vegan parmesan and fresh parsley or basil, if desired.