Sure Thing Minestrone

Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s not quality.

After the great American cookoff holiday this week and the last couple of new, more labor-intensive recipes, I thought I’d keep things uncomplicated and go back to one of my favorite easy one-pot staples, a crowd-pleasing soup that cooks who’ve been around the block a few times may take for granted but that really does the job at the end of the day. This is one quick and dirty that hits the spot. I adapted it from a Forks Over Knives recipe to meet my personal preferences, and when winter rolls around I always find myself coming back again and again. You may find yourself wanting to curl up in a blanket with it on many a cold night.

Cook time is only about half an hour, but give yourself some time for prep (always good advice). Serves about 4, but you can be exclusive if you want.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, halved lengthwise and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 medium red potato, scrubbed skin-on, quartered and diced at about 1/4″
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and diced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • About 3 cups kale, spines removed, chopped
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 T oregano
  • 2/3 cup macaroni or shell pasta (gluten free folk should use Tinkyada brand if you have access to it as it doesn’t fall apart)
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil

Saute the chopped onion in the olive oil on medium in a soup pot or dutch oven until translucent. Add a T or two of water as needed to keep it lubricated, and add the garlic. Stir for another minute or two and then add the carrot, celery, salt and a few twists or dashes of pepper. Saute another five minutes or so, and then add the potatoes. If more liquid is needed, add a little more water to keep the potatoes from sticking. After a few minutes, when the olive oil has started to penetrate the potatoes a little, you can add the diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast and oregano. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are easily forked, then add the zucchini, beans, kale, basil, and pasta and let cook for another 5-7 minutes (or however long it takes according to package directions to achieve al dente pasta). Remove from heat, add more pepper (I like it peppery) or salt if needed, and serve up immediately.

You can store any leftover soup in sealed containers in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but don’t try freezing it as that won’t work well with pasta. Make as much as you like as often as you like, and feel free to experiment with other vegetables like green beans, spinach, or yellow squash. This soup is pretty accommodating.

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