TGIF! Today I’m cooking up a batch of my mom’s Minestrone Soup with a few additions because I’m all about working with what I have on hand. (I had black beans, zucchini, butternut squash and kale).
My love of cooking, and especially soup, goes back to watching my mom and grandmother cook while I sat on a stool and chatted away to them. It felt cozy and warm. I felt safe, loved and cared for. They weren’t gourmet cooks, but I loved their food, and especially that time together.
The kitchen is where I continue to gather, laugh, make mistakes, and re-center when my day feels off-kilter. My mom always said cooking a pot of Minestrone helped her get quiet, focus on the ingredients, and get perspective on a situation. I think it was her 1980s version of meditation! Cooking is definitely one of those ‘meditating without meditating’ practices.
My son and I love to cook and it’s in the kitchen where he usually catches me up on the details of his day. And just last night, I caught up with a friend over zoom while cooking dinner. It was (almost) like we were hanging out in my kitchen together. Of course, some of my favorite nights are when my wife cooks (hint, hint!).
The WHY of MINESTRONE:
Minestrone originated in the Roman Empire and I think it might be the original #zerowaste #plantbased recipe! Marcus Apicius’s De Re Coquinaria, a cookbook dated to c. 30AD, has a soup recipe that contains most of the ingredients in modern Minestrone – cool! Minestrone seems to have always been made with whatever vegetables were on hand and even in many cases using leftovers (aka #zerowaste).
I hope you join me tonight for this recipe, especially if you need some extra healing vibes! I’ve posted it in What Would Lisa Eat and in the BIOLINK.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 medium ribs celery, diced
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 to 2 cups chopped butternut squash or potatoes
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 large can (28 ounces) whole plum tomatoes with their liquid, chopped
- 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups chopped Savoy cabbage, kale or collard greens
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- STIR-INS + TOPPINGS
- Red pepper flakes
- Pasta (bean, gluten-free, or traditional)
- Parmesan cheese or Walnut ‘Parmesan’
- Step 1 In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.
- Step 2 Add the zucchini, butternut squash or potatoes, and thyme. Cook for 2 minutes
- Step 3 Add the broth, chopped tomatoes, and their juices, and the bay leaves.
- Step 4 Increase heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot with a lid, and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.
- Step 5 Add the beans and continue to simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered.
- Step 6 Turn off the heat, stir in the greens, and season to taste with salt and pepper, or red pepper flakes.
- Step 7 To serve: Divide between bowls and garnish with Parmesan or Walnut ‘Parmesan.’