Minestrone is a meatless soup characteristic of Italy but known worldwide. It contains a rich abundance of a myriad of vegetables typical of the region.
It's appropriate for colder days when the body has need of heat and energy. Even though meat is absent from the minestrone recipe, the calories our body needs come from the vegetable proteins that are plentiful in the soup.
The ingredients in minestrone soup recipes vary tremendously - everything depends on the taste, season and available products. The main must-haves include beans, onions, celery, carrots, broth, with pasta or rice added toward the end of cooking. Here's how to prepare it:
Ingredients: 2/3 cup ripe beans, 1/5 cup olive oil, 1 onion head, 2 garlic cloves, 9 oz potatoes, 9 oz carrots, 12.5 oz zucchini, 2 bunches celery, 2 bunches leeks, 1 bay leaf, 1 tbsp basil, 8 1/3 cups vegetable broth, 2/3 cup long-grain rice or fine pasta, 9 oz tomatoes, 4/5 cup frozen peas, salt and black pepper to taste.
Preparation: Wash the beans and soak them in cold water overnight. Wash them the next morning and put them in a pot on the stove. Boil for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until softened. Drain the beans from the water and discard it.
Chop the onions finely, press the garlic cloves, dice the potatoes, cut the carrots into round slices, the zucchini - into round slices, chop the stalks of celery and leeks finely.
Heat the olive oil. Braise the onions and garlic cloves in it until softened. Add the potatoes, carrots, zucchini, peas, bay leaf and basil. Stir and add the broth and beans after 5 min.
Put the soup to boil, stirring from time to time. After 25 min., add the rice or pasta. Boil another 15 min., then add the peeled and cut into quarters tomatoes, along with the peas. After about another 5 min., the soup will be ready. Serve it seasoned with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
The soup can also be garnished with grated parmesan. If you would like it to be a meat soup then you can add 3.5 oz (100 g) finely chopped bacon to the onions while braising them.
Check out these other recipes for irresistible minestrone: Classic Minestrone, Minestrone with Orzo, Tuscan-Style Minestrone, Vegetable Minestrone.