With the use of Quinoa, an ancient grain, instead of pasta the classic Minestrone is made gluten free! With the use of the parmesan substitute recipe below, this soup is also vegan!
This is a thick vegetable/bean soup, traditionally made with the addition of pasta. It has a long history dating back to pre-Roman days, and it used to be made primarily with leftovers by poor families looking to stretch their food resources. It’s considered a part of la cucina povera, or poor kitchen. It evolved over the years, as any good recipe does, reflecting the economies and eating habits of the people making it, so we modified it to use quinoa (instead of pasta) and add my FAVE green, kale, to this yummy classic soup.
The is a long list of ingredients, but it is super easy! All you’re really doing is chopping the veggies into a medium dice and putting everything in a big pot. It’s fast, easy, and it’s good for several meals. Make a really big pot and freeze what you don’t use in quart containers. They last for months and will be a lifesaver when you can’t or don’t want to cook.
In celebration of this time of harvest, when fresh local vegetables are available almost everywhere, go explore the farmer’s markets, stop at farm stands, or just grab your favorite fresh veggies wherever you can, and make a minestrone. Express yourself!
- 1 sweet onion – medium diced
- 2 celery stalks – medium diced
- 3 carrots – medium diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil – or enough to cover the bottom of the pot
- 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 2 cups fresh zucchini – medium diced (about 1 medium or 2 small)
- 2 cups green beans – cut in 1 inch pieces
- 1 bell pepper – medium diced
- 1.75 lbs of fresh tomatoes or 1 x 28 ounces can crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups of water
- 1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups kale – stems removed
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (or to taste)
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan ‘Cheese’ Substitute
Garnish with parmesan to taste, omit if vegan or use a parmesan substitute such as:
Ground cashews mixed with nutritional yeast, so easy!
Garnish with slivered basil or finely chopped rosemary
1. Place a large stockpot over medium heat and add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes or until softened.
2. Add the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook for about one minute or until garlic begins to color.
3. Add the zucchini and the green beans, season with salt and pepper, add the turmeric, stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and the water, raise heat to high and bring to a boil.
5. Lower the heat to medium/low and allow the soup to gently boil (uncovered) for about 20 minutes.
6. Add the quinoa and cover for 15 minutes.
7. Remove the cover, add the kale and the canned beans (more water if needed) bring back to a gentle boil and cook for another 5 minutes or just until the kale is tender.
Grate in the parmesan (or parmesan substitute), add the basil and serve.