Spring is springing (finally!) in the hills of Tennessee, and I couldn’t be happier.
But, there’s something about springtime that also makes me just a little bit sad. I live in a second-story apartment with a teensy closet-sized patio, so there really isn’t room for much gardening. My husband and I seem to be really good at killing perfectly healthy plants, but somehow we usually manage to grow some basil and maybe a few cucumbers and tomatoes on our little balcony.
BUT, that’s soon to change. If everything goes as planned, Jonathan will graduate from anesthesia school next December, and we’ll get to move into a real house. CanNOT. Wait. Seriously.
Am I the only one who always buys way, WAY too many fresh vegetables while grocery shopping? You know…like to the point of finding rapidly-wilting kale, cilantro, parsley, and celery stashed into every available corner of the fridge? Please tell me I’m not the only one.
If you’re like me, you’ll understand just how satisfying a good fridge-cleaning session can be–especially if that means pulling out all of those stashed-away vegetables and throwing them into a giant pot of soup. Minestrone soup.
Somehow, minestrone has a way of marrying the comfort of winter and the joy of spring together in one pot. Who says soups are only good in the middle of winter?? Oh yeah…some of you are still experiencing the effects of the polar vortex. Sorry. Spring is coming for you too. I promise.
If your finally starting to thaw, or even if you’re still hibernating under parkas, mittens, and scarves; you’re going to love this versatile minestrone.
One more thing: those croutons? You can find a recipe for them here.
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large carrots, thinly sliced (about ¾ cup total)
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 cup chopped summer squash (or zucchini)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 can (15 ounces) or 1½ cup diced stewed tomatoes
- 1 can (15 ounces) or 1½ cup tomato sauce
- 2 cups your favorite marinara sauce (optional, but adds additional flavor and richness)
- 1½ cup green beans, in bite sized pieces (I used frozen.)
- 1½ cup dried elbow macaroni
- 3 kale leaves, torn (optional)
- 1 can (15 ounces) dark kidney beans
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon basil (or fresh, if you have it)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
- Pinch of ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- Salt to taste (I used at least 1-2 teaspoons.)
- In a large pot, saute onion, garlic, carrots, celery, summer squash for about 5 minutes in a little olive oil (or water, if you prefer oil-free cooking).
- Add 6 cups of water, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and green beans to your pot, and bring to a slow boil.
- Add elbow macaroni to pot and cook uncovered on medium heat for about 13 minutes, or just until macaroni is al dente. When macaroni is about halfway done, go ahead and add your torn kale so it can begin to wilt.
- Add remaining ingredients in pot, salt to taste, and serve hot with garlic croutons or crackers.
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34 (King James Version)