Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hearty Minestrone Soup

There seems to be as many recipes for minestrone soup as there are cookbooks. Each one is a little different, but the basic equation remains the same, resulting in a versatile Italian vegetable soup that includes the common ingredients of beans, veggies, some sort of grain, and tomatoes. The "Hearty Minestrone Soup" (page 145) is very much a vegetable soup with onions, celery, carrot, tomatoes, and cabbage. I also had a handful of fresh green peas, so I threw those in as well. Italian seasonings include garlic, oregano, basil, and parsley. I always add the garlic at the very end, right after I turn the soup off, and let the residual heat just barely cook it, in order to retain a stronger flavor. Instead of calling for traditional pasta, this recipe called for barley (although using pasta instead was mentioned as a viable option). Another unusual addition was ¼ cup split peas. Kidneys were the bean of choice, but as the recipe states, any bean works well. Not as tomato-y as some minestrones, but all-in-all a very satisfying and hearty vegetable soup. It was easy to keep this recipe oil free by omitting the 1 tablespoon called for when sautéing the veggies.

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