On a cold and frosty morning… Wholesome Minestrone Soup
With all his laughing and giggling, Vid put his hands up while this rhyme is recited. It’s delightful watching him tapping on the rhythm of rhymes.
With the days getting shorter and winter looming here, a warm and nourishing bowl of soup is a great way to drive away the winter chills. Minestrone soup is jam-packed full of veggies goodness and with all those fibers and proteins from the beans it comprises a quite filling and nourishing dish.
Traditionally, Minestrone soup is a thick bean-based soup and is made with varieties of vegetables with the addition of pasta or rice. I decided to use up red double beans for the soup as it was sitting on my shelf for long threatening me to turn rancid. Earthy beans, the generous addition of fresh herbs imparts a hearty and satisfying depth of flavor to the soup.
It’s a breeze to make as all the stock is added in one go and you don’t need to hovering around the stove. The colors of vegetables made the soup looking attractive and scrumptious. Vid loved the soup but kept the baby corn aside. It felt nice to see him trying to figure out the colors and taste of different vegetables.
You can stock up on produces which are in the season and make most of their nutrition by varying the choices all through the year.
Dried beans -1/3 cup, 80 gm
Thyme – 2 sprigs
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Garlic – 3-4 cloves
Shallots/pearl onions – 8-10 nos.
Green beans, chopped – 1/3 cup or 50 gm
Carrots, chopped – 1/3 cup or 50 gm
Turnips, chopped – 1/4 cup or 40 gm
Cabbage, shredded – 1/3 cup or 60 gm
Babycorn, chopped – 1/3 cup or 50 gm
Celery, chopped – 1/4 cup or 15 gm
Tomatoes, crushed – 1 med.
Oregano, dried – 1/4 tsp
Basil fresh, chopped – 2 tbsp
Black pepper, freshly ground – To taste
Salt (I used sea salt) – To taste
Pasta – 1/4 cup (if desired)
1. Soak dried beans in enough water and little vinegar(see notes 2) for 6-8 hrs. or overnight.
2. Drain and discard water from the beans. Now cook beans with 1 cup water, thyme and little salt in a pressure pan till 3 whistles. Let the pan cool.
3. Heat olive oil in a pan, add garlic and shallots. Cook till golden brown.
4. Add in green beans, babycorn, carrots, turnips, cabbage and celery. Stir for a few mins. and add 3 cups water. Let it come to boil. In the meantime, take out beans, thyme and water from the pressure pan and purée.
5. After the soup comes to boil, add in the beans purée and mix well. At this point, add water according to the consistency you like. Cook for 10-15 mins. on low-medium flame stirring occasionally or till the vegetables are tender.
6. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt and black pepper powder and let the soup simmer further for 5 mins. on low.
7. Mix pasta in the soup and let it simmer till the pasta is cooked.
8. Switch off the flame, garnish with basil and serve with warm toasted wholewheat bread as an accompaniment.
1. Any dried beans like kidney beans, white beans, lima, etc. can be preferred.
2. While soaking beans, I use vinegar with the water as it reduces the phytic acid content of beans thereby making it more digestible, nutrient-dense and easier for assimilation. In place of vinegar, you can also use yoghurt, whey or lime juice.
3. For the added sourness, you can add vinegar. Adjust the seasonings for the balanced sweet, sour and spicy flavor.
4. I don’t reserve veg. stock/broth nor use veg. cube as I prefer them fresh. But if desired and you have it on-hand , you can use them in place of water.
5. For another version, blend the soup swiftly after the step 6, then add pasta and place the pan back on the stove till pasta is cooked.