Meatless Monday: Pasta-less Minestrone

My Tiny Sous Chef and I are back from our little getaway, and we’re getting right back to business – in the kitchen. I decided I’m going to try something new – every Sunday through the winter I’m going to make a big pot of soup for Sunday or Monday’s dinner, and for lunches during the week. I’m starting right away.

Tonight’s soup was a perfect winter warmer. Bright and crunchy and warm and satiating, and it will only get better with each day. I mean, Thursday’s lunch is going to be amazing. This is not a truly traditional minestrone. There’s no pasta – though you absolutely could add it, of course. But besides that, it’s the same rich tomato base with a delicious rainbow of yummy, beautiful veggies layered with herbs and seasonings. It’s a little bit labor intensive on the chopping prep, but hey, a little work never hurt anyone. But it’s simple and overall ready for serving in no more than an hour. And it’s healthy, low fat, and gluten-free, and can even be vegan! Whoa. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDminestrone2
* 2-3T olive oil
* 1 small sweet onion, chopped
* 2 ribs of celery, chopped
* 2t minced garlic
* 280z can low sodium whole, peeled tomatoes, and their juice
* 1/4C chopped green cabbage
* 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
* 2 small zucchinis, chopped
* 2C low sodium vegetable broth (can use water, or chicken broth too)
* 4C (32oz) low sodium tomato juice
* 15.5oz can chickpeas
* 1 bay leaf
* 1T dried basil
* 1t oregano
* 1/2t dried thyme
* freshly ground black pepper
* handful fresh parsley, chopped

WHAT TO DO
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the onion, celery, and garlic, and, stirring occasionally, warm them 5-7 minutes until the onion and celery begin to soften and the aromatics released by the garlic begin to fill the kitchen.

Add the tomatoes, crushing each by hand as you add it to the pot, with all of the juice from the can. Then stir to mix everything together and let heat a minute or so to let the flavors begin to cook together.

minestrone1

Add all of the rest of the ingredients and mix through. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes–or longer. As I mentioned – the longer these ingredients spend together, the better and deeper and richer the soup will taste. Sprinkle with some grated parmesan and serve with some warm crusty bread. And then let it sit for a day and have another bowl. YES.

minestrone4

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