Step-by-Step: Minestrone Soup

Two things have changed overnight for us. First, where we live, it suddenly became fall and second, our daughter discovered a loose tooth. This may not seem significant to many people, however, to us it means she’s growing up. It also seems that our daughter, who is usually very well-adjusted, can’t seem to stop complaining about this loose tooth. Almost everything she has eaten in the last two days, has hurt her. So, to welcome fall and allow her a pain-free meal, I decided to make minestrone soup. I was always intimidated by making soup, as I thought it could only be done by experienced home cooks. The first time I made soup, I strictly followed a recipe. It turned out nice, but, the next time I made the soup I went off of memory, and it turned out even better. It made me realize that good soup is more about good ingredients and taking your time than anything else. If this is your first soup, don’t be nervous, just go with what you like to eat and don’t rush yourself.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
3 large carrots, chopped
1-2 zucchini, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 large handfuls of spinach
1 carton no salt added vegetable broth
Salt and pepper
1 can organic white kidney beans, rinsed
3/4 cup alphabet pasta or something similar (cooked)

Directions

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1. Heat your oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.

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2. Sauté the onions, garlic and carrots until tender, watching not to brown.

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3. Add the zucchini and sauté until it is soft.

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4. Peeling your tomatoes is a bit easier if you use the back of a knife to scrape the tomato skin first. Then peel it with the sharp side of the knife. Add the tomatoes to the pot, and warm through.

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5. Add the spinach and sauté until wilted.

6. Add the broth and top up with as much water as you need to make enough soup.

7. Reduce the heat to low, cover and bring to a boil. At this point, you can also add your salt and pepper. I added about 1/2 tsp of freshly ground pepper and about 1 1/2 tsp of salt (I use no-salt vegetarian broth so up until my addition, there was no salt in the soup).

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6. Meanwhile, cook your pasta.

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7. Allow to simmer at least 20 minutes, but longer if you have the time.

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8. If you are eating the soup right away, add the drained and rinsed beans at the end of cooking. They only need a few minutes to warm through.

9. I do not add the pasta to my soup because I find it absorbs too much of the liquid; however, I keep it in the fridge and add as much pasta to the bowl as I want, and then top it off with hot soup. The heat from the soup is enough to warm the pasta through and keeps the soup, soupy.

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9. You can top this soup with large shavings of parmesan, but it is delicious just as it is.

On the eve of the first day of fall, I hope you’re keeping warm and enjoying our changing leaves (where we are, it’s happening already)! Enjoy!

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