For my first day of vegan week, I ate:
- English muffin with spinach-artichoke dip*
- Winter Minestrone Soup
- Lime tortilla chips
- Dark chocolate
- Pan fried tempeh with artichoke dip
- coconut cookie**
- ginger cookie**
- Water, seltzer, coffee, wine spritzer to drink
For vegan week to be a success, I rely a lot on the recipes of others. This lovely winter minestrone comes from Joanne at Eats Well With Others. Her recipes always look scrumptious and amazing! I followed it very closely, though I changed the ratio of some veggies to suit my tastes, and changed the order of ingredient additions based on how I have made soups before.
Winter Minestrone (serves 6-8)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 medium/large carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large bunch chard, leaves roughly torn, stems coarsely chopped, leaves & stems kept separate
- 1/2 C parsley, finely chopped
- 1 28-oz can tomatoes, either diced or whole and chopped, with juice
- 1/2 head cabbage, cored and cut into strips
- 1 15-oz can white northern beans, drained
- 2 quarts veggie broth
- 1 1/2 C small pasta shapes, cooked, reserve a bit of the cooking water, if possible
- salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over med-low heat. Add the carrots & onion, and cook for 20 mins, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, begin boiling the broth. In the pot with the carrot and onion, add the garlic, chard stems, & 1/4 parsley, stirring constantly for a couple of mins. Then, add the tomatoes & tomato juice & cook for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the tomato/onion/chard stem/etc. mixture to the boiling broth. In addition, add half of the cabbage leaves and half of the chard leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce, and simmer 30 mins, covered.
4. While the soup is simmering, bring some water to a boil (I just used the same pot I cooked the veggies in--I didn't bother to rinse it). Add the remainder of the cabbage & chard leaves, cook for 2 mins, strain, and put in ice water to prevent further cooking.
5. After the soup has been cooking 30 mins, add the blanched cabbage, chard, 1/4 C parsley, pasta, & 2/3 of the white beans. Take the remainder of the white beans, a bit of the soup broth, and a bit of pasta water and puree. Add the puree to the soup and some salt & pepper. Serve immediately.
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Kitchen Notes: The original recipe calls for 1 fewer carrots and 2 bunches of chard as well as a whole head (!) of garlic. It also calls for less broth and no pasta. Blanching the veggies helps to keep them crisp and green and gives the soup a beautiful color. It also calls for finishing it off with Parmesan cheese. In this recipe, each of the veggies are discretely tasted, so good ingredients are important.
Verdict? A veggie-lover's soup. Nice full flavor. I love that it's hearty, filling, yet clean and light at the same time. I'm giddy about the nutrition packed into this soup, and it warms nicely on a winter day. I'm glad I decreased the amount of chard so that it didn't overwhelm, but I am always excited about a recipe that uses chard stems. And now, some pretty pictures of the beautiful carrots and chard one local farm still grows, even in December: