Who doesn’t love a bowl of thick and hearty soup?
I do! So I’m continuing my “Lighten it Up” challenge by putting together one of my all-time fave Italiano soups—Minestrone! Let’s all say this with the kind of passion and romance of a real Italian! Just click on the link and learn how!
Minestrone Soup typically does have a lot of veggies in it but it also has beans, pasta, sometimes potato, sometimes meat and often a chicken or beef-based broth. Today I am first of all making a vegan version of this soup which will lighten it up considerably and I’m going to tweek the basic recipe to lighten it further still without sacrificing flavor, thickness or richness.
Start by sauteing one medium onion diced in one tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Or, water sautee. Continue sauteing until the onions become translucent and start to brown.
Slice a few sliced cloves of garlic and dice about three stalks of celery and toss them into the saute action. Add another pinch of sea salt. Add a bit of water if the pan gets a bit too dry.
Check out the action shot! Add a can of diced tomatoes.
Now here’s a good trick . . . take half of a 15 ounce can of chickpeas and a little bit of vegetable broth and puree them with a blender. This nice thick puree helps make the soup rich, rich, rich! You may do this with any kind of bean you choose for your minestrone. Then add the rest of your chickpeas and vegetable broth. (I used one box of Imagine Foods Vegetable Cooking Stock. It is one of the only prepared soup stocks that does NOT have any sugar in it. Instead of pasta, I added 2 cups of cooked wild rice that I had leftover from stuffed squash. Season with salt and pepper to taste, oregano, pepper flakes or whatever sounds Italiano to you!
Now were going to really up the heartiness level with 5 cups of escarole! Wash the escarole and give it a rough cut before adding it to the soup. Don’t worry about how bulky it looks, it will cook down pretty fast.
Adjust your seasonings and—Mama Mia! That’s one beautiful Minestrone! Come on everybody! Let’s say “Mama Mia” just the way our Italian friends do!