When when the evenings begin to turn crisp, this Minestrone, overflowing with beans, pasta, and fresh garden vegetables, really hits the spot.
Don’t be alarmed by the lengthy ingredient list. This soup actually simmers to perfection in around 30 minutes. And yet somehow, the rich flavor, laced with red wine, makes this taste like you’ve been cooking all day.
I always take a shortcut with the cabbage in this recipe, using pre-packaged shredded slaw mix. You can throw the other vegetables into the food processer for expedience, or chop them by hand on your cutting board, for a more rustic look. Either way, the soup is equally delicious.
Minestrone always feels wonderfully nourishing, especially on a chilly night. Thanks to the beans and pasta, it’s hearty and satisfying, and especially so when served with a warm loaf of crusty bread. Plus, with all of these wonderful vegetables, you really can feel just as good when you have a second bowl.
6 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 cup dry red wine
28 ounce can / jar crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, chopped or sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 small zucchini, chopped
3 cups shredded cabbage
2 cans kidney (or other) beans, rinsed, drained
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 – 4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup small whole wheat orzo, uncooked
5 ounce box of fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
In a large soup pot, combine all ingredients, except pasta and spinach. Bring to boil.
Reduce heat, cover partially, and simmer gently, until the carrots are tender (approximately 20 to 30 minutes). Once the carrots are tender, stir in the pasta and cook until almost tender (about 10 minutes). Turn off the heat. Add the spinach, mix gently, and cover the soup pot for about 5 minutes, just until spinach is wilted and heated through.
Serve piping hot soup with a loaf of warm bread.
(Adapted from Vegan Italiano, by Donna Klein)