Today I planned to tell you about my fabulous apple cranberry upside-down cake that has a hint of rosemary and lemon… but I’m going to have to switch gears on you and save that for next week. (I know, I’m sorry – especially because, when I posted the picture on Instagram and Facebook last week, you helped it become one of my most viewed photos of the entire week! (Really… you love the sweets even more than quinoa? LOL) )
Because the weekend forecast is downright frigid… there’s a little bug going around… and we could all use something to warm us up from the inside out, couldn’t we? That’s why I want to tell you about this:
Literally, minestrone means ‘that which is served’. It’s a soup we all know hails from Italian culture… and I ate plenty of while I lived abroad. Typically it’s made with vegetables, broth, and the addition of pasta or rice… but, in reality, there really isn’t a fixed recipe.
What I love about minestrone is that it’s more about style than following a set of rules; it’s a ‘whatever you have lying around’ kinda soup… and, I know we moms like that syle of dish, don’t we?
There are as many ways to make minestrone as there are cooks; and, depending on the time of year it’s being made, and what ingredients are on hand, this ‘traditional’ soup has unlimited variations.
My variation that I’m sharing with you today is a little bit of all I love:
Here’s what you need:
- olive oil
- 2 FRESH rosemary sprigs about 2″ long
- 3 FRESH sprigs of thyme
- 1 FRESH sprig of oregano
- 1 handful of curly parsley
- 5-6 FRESH sage leaves (or 1 large sage sprig)
- 1 FRESH sprig of marjoram
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced and crushed
- 3 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds
- 1 small bunch of kale, rough chopped
- several small potatoes (I like to use fingerlings)
- soup stock (I use chicken stock)
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 2 cans of great northern beans, rinsed and drained
- precooked quinoa
- Heat a large soup pot on the stove top and add olive oil to coat the pan. When hot, add onions and garlic; saute until onions are translucent.
- Add diced celery, chopped carrots, and chopped kale. Saute for a few minutes, covered, on medium high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Add canned tomatoes and fresh herbs, stir to incorporate, and continue to saute (uncovered) for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. (NOTE: You don’t need to remove the leaves or chop the herbs before adding to the soup. Just toss them into the mix completely whole, and remove the woody stems before serving.)
- Add potatoes, beans, and enough stock to cover the base by two inches. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to medium, cover, and allow the soup to simmer for 10-15 minutes so flavors incorporate and the potatoes to soften.
- Serve over a scoop of quinoa, and, if desired, top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Not only do the fresh herbs make this the best minestrone soup you’ll ever taste (and YES, you MUST use fresh herbs… MUST), I guarantee the quinoa will satisfy more than pasta ever could.
So, there ya go – a big pot o’ love you need to make this weekend. It’s easy, fragrant, amped up on nutrients, and exactly what this cold weather is calling for.
Happy Friday, everyone!