SPRINGTIME TUSCAN MINESTRONE SOUP

Springtime Tuscan MinestroneSpring has sprung in the Pacific Northwest, which means that nutrient dense baby greens and sprouts are plentiful.  Not to mention an abundance of asparagus--which, let's be real, is ONLY worth eating in the springtime when it is fresh and tender.

Fresh spring-y veg and herb is great to eat raw, but I also love to toss these bright greens into light soups, when there is still a chill in the air and I want something to warm my bones! Because this soup uses a lot of fresh light veggies, it will cook up pretty quickly. Don't let the long ingredient list fool you. Most of the work is in the rough chopping of all these beautiful vegetables.

This soup's amazing flavor, is brought to you by all the lemon and garlic in the broth--PLUS the super sassy drizzle of basil-parsley pesto, swirled in right before serving.

I shared this recipe and the Wondrous White Bean Spread recently at Chucks Produce in Vancouver. It's great fun to share a bunch of laughs, cook delicious food, and enjoy it together--on a particularly blustery spring day. Here I am getting ready to chop chop chop...

Denise_Chucks

For more information about upcoming cooking demos and such, check out my cooking demos--or other services!

To the the soup!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups cooked cranberry beans-or other white bean (or 1 can)
  • 6 cups stock, water, or combination of the two
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 portobello mushroom, cubed
  • 5 oz dry pasta of your choice, about half a box (I like ditalini)
  • A large handful of asparagus, diced
  • A large handful of green beans, diced or julienned
  • Approx. 2 cups greens, roughly chopped (try chard, spinach, kale, collards, green cabbage, spinach—or a combo!)
  • 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to tasteFOR PESTO
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh herbs (I used basil and parsley)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup nuts (pistachio, walnut, cashews, pine nuts )**optional
  • 1-2 cups olive oil (depending on how thin you wantto go and how much you want to save for later--and you might as well!)

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a heavy bottomed soup pot, sauté onion, celery, garlic and leeks in olive oil until fragrant and translucent.

2. Add one can of cranberry beans with it’s “juices”. Using your wooden spoon crush some of the beans in the pan. This will make for a “slightly thicker “creamier” broth.

3. Add stock or water, salt and pepper, and the juice of 1 lemon.

4. Bring liquids to a low boil. In the meantime, clean and chop veggies. Cube portobellos, dice asparagus, julienne green beans, rough chop greens, and set a aside.

5. Once the broth is gently boiling, add the pasta and the mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until pasta is tender.

6. While pasta is cooking, make pesto. In a food processor add fresh herbs, garlic cloves, nuts (if using), and begin drizzling in olive oil as you pulse. You want the pesto to be pretty thin, so that it drizzles, so continue to run until pesto is smooth.

7. Once pasta is nearly done, al dente, turn heat to low, add asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes.

8. Turn off the heat, add the rest of the veggies and cover. Veggies should become slightly tender, but not mushy.

9. Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh cracked pepper and a generous swirl of the pesto.

 

NOTES:

This will make a pretty big batch of soup, which is great because you can save some

This vegan version would be tasty with some non- vegan add-ins such as:

  • grated parmesan or Romano cheese
  • a mild chicken sausage
  • ground turkey or chicken*If adding meat, toss it in before step one.

Enjoy!