Saturday, January 19, 2013

Easy Home Cooking - Minestrone Soup

I usually make a meatless meal about once a week.  Not to be vegetarian, but more as a money saving tactic.  It can be a challenge to find options that everyone in the Chick household will actually eat.  I should say, it's tough to find meatless options that Mr. Chick and Violet will eat...they're the picky ones.

This minestrone soup is one of my go to meatless recipes because it's easy to make AND is a dish that everyone likes.  Additional bonus points for that fact that it's all stuff you probably have on hand and even if you don't, you can modify to fit what you do have in your pantry and refrigerator.  You really can't mess this one up.

Here is where a good blogger would show you a picture of ingredients.  I am a blogger that doesn't plan ahead, so I'll just tell you what was used.

Ingredient List:

(I'm giving approximate measurements because I don't really measure on this one, really, you can't mess it up!)

- olive oil (about 2 T)
- carrots, diced (I used about 1/4 of a 1 lb bag of baby carrots because that's all I had left, if you have whole carrots use 1 or 2, depending on how big they are)
- celery, diced (about 2 stalks)
- onion, diced (about half a medium onion)
- 1 can garbanzo beans 
- 1 can Italian stewed tomatoes
- I can regular diced tomatoes (I usually use petite diced, but regular is fine too)
- soup stock (I used a 32 oz carton of beef stock, but you could use chicken or vegetable stock, whatever you have on hand or prefer)
- water (about 4 cups)
- uncooked pasta (about 1 cup - whatever shape you like, just something small'ish like bow ties or shells.  I used some 'winter' pasta that I bought from a fundraiser that was snowflakes and snowmen, so really - anything goes)
- 1 t dried basil
- 1 t dried oregano
- 1 t kosher salt
- 1 T dried parsley
- 1 t garlic powder
*This is what I used last night, but I've also included cabbage, zucchini, cannelini beans, etc. in past versions - feel free to substitute or even just add to the ingredients listed here.  You can use fresh herbs and garlic of course, I just always tend to stick with dry.

First you heat the olive oil in your soup pot over medium heat and saute the carrots, celery and onion in the olive oil until the onion is translucent.

Reduce heat to low and add the two cans of tomatoes, including the juice from each can.  I always chop the stewed tomatoes a little smaller that they come out of the can.  I just drain the can into my soup pot, dump the tomatoes on my cutting board and coarse chop them, then throw them right in the pot.

Add your soup stock and water.  I know it seems like a LOT of liquid but trust me on that part.   You're going to cook your pasta in the soup toward the end and that soaks up a lot.  Add your salt, basil, oregano, parsley and garlic powder and stir.

Let this simmer for about an hour or so on low heat - it should be really low, so it simmers and doesn't boil.  With my stove, I have to turn it to the absolute lowest heat setting but yours might be different.  I left this simmering at home while I grocery shopped (someone was home, of course), so it probably simmered for about an hour and a half, and that was fine too.

After the soup simmers, you can adjust your seasoning as needed.  Add your pasta and turn the heat up to medium low.  When your pasta is cooked, it's ready.  If it seems at all thin or watery here, add some tomato paste and it should thicken up a little and round out the tomato goodness.

I served this topped with some shaved Parmesan cheese and French bread on the side for dipping.



  1. That looks like a really great recipe, we've hit a cold patch here in FL this week (welcoming it with open arms after quite a few weeks of 80 degree January weather!) and this might just be something I add to my grocery list this weekend!

  2. This looks like one of those great recipes you can just add whatever you've got on hand to. And I never measure anything either, so it's fine with me that you didn't!


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