Thursday, October 13, 2011

Minestrone soup or Whatever I found in my garden soup!

This is one of my fall favorites! Most people call it Minestrone soup or health in a bowl. But I like to call it Whatever I found in my garden or CSA box today soup! This is such an amazing soup, hearty, healthy and easy to make. It is a great dinner during the fall when things can be pretty are back to school, soccer practice, dance class etc...
Ummm can you smell it simmering?

Also you can substitute vegetables depending on what you have or what you like. You can use Swiss chard or kale instead of spinach if you wish. You can also cook it in a crock pot if you would like. I prefer to make this soup on the stove and let it simmer for about 45 minutes before adding the pasta. The crock pot however is so convenient when you are working all day and want to come home to a cooked meal. This is also great with browned venison burger, mini turkey meatballs or even some sauteed crumbled turkey sausage.
3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped (more if it is flu season)
2 onions, chopped
2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced
4 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarians)
2 (28 oz) can stewed tomatoes (I like the Italian kind)

1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained (You can use cannellini or navy too)
1 (15 ounce) can green beans or fresh ones from the garden or your CSA!
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed (or fresh Kale)
3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup seashell whole wheat pasta (if watching your carbs or blood sugar you can omit)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and saute garlic, celery, carrots and onion - saute for 4 to 5 minutes.
Add chicken broth, tomatoes, bring to boil, stirring frequently. If desired add red wine at this point. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, all the veggies, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better.

Throw in noodles and cook until tender. Ladle soup in to bowls and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

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