Anyone else on baked goods overload this quarantine? Don’t get me wrong, I am deeply enjoying my sourdough starter adventures (yes I eagerly and unabashedly jumped on that quarantine trend…) ((see the small crust of bread hiding in the photos?? I made that, guys!!)), but there’s really only so many baked goods you can eat before you start craving a healthy light bowl of vegetable soup. Such as this recipe for Minestrone Verde.
Because moderation, right??
Dave’s garden has fortunately been wildly active this spring, gifting us with more vegetables and herbs than we know what to do with, if I”m honest. So, between the garden production and my personal cravings, the stars aligned, and this wonderful, healthy, and so so flavorful bowl of soup was simmering away on the stovetop just ready be slurped.
Now, I absolutely love classic minestrone, in all its tomatoey goodness, but I was researching how to make it with spring ingredients, since we really haven’t hit tomato season yet. (Yeah, yeah, I snuck a few tomatoes in this recipes anyway for good measure, but this is not a tomato-forward soup by any means).
In Italy, minestrone isn’t just about tomatoes, though. It’s about using what you have on hand. So in spring – when greens are in abundance – you can find many a family simmering their own recipe for Minestrone Verde. And in that tradition, you can certainly adapt this to your preferences – that’s the beauty of minestrone. For this recipe, I used white beans, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and swiss chard for this recipe, but I think it would be wonderful with spinach or kale as a substitute for the chard, maybe green beans, and definitely small pasta can be used if you like! (I figured the potatoes were enough carbs in this, and of course I was serving with sourdough…)
But regardless of what vegetables you use, the whole thing is brought together with fresh basil pesto. I’m serious. The broth literally has pesto stirred right in (and dolloped on top for extra measure). Pesto = the best of the green flavors, am I right?
Talk about a way to make vegetables sing!
Have a great week guys!
Minestrone VerdeCourse: Main, AppetizersCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
Generous glug of extra virgin olive oil (2-3 tablespoons)
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, cut into rounds (or about a heaping 1/2 cup)
3-4 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
1 cup green cabbage, shredded
1.5 quarts low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 Parmesan rind
2 cups waxy potatoes, peeled, and cubed into 1 inch pieces
2 15 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained well
2 small roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup swiss chard roughly chopped (feel free to substitute with spinach or kale)
Salt and pepper to taste
Minced parsley (for garnish)
- To make Pesto (makes enough for recipe, plus garnish)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Paremsan-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup pine nuts
Salt, to taste
- In a heavy bottom stock pot, add olive oil and turn heat to medium. Add onion, carrot, and celery all together. Season with a pinch of salt, and saute until just softened.
- Add cabbage, and saute briefly to wilt.
- Add chicken (or vegetable) stock, parmesan rind, potatoes, beans, and tomatoes. Turn heat to high to bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.
- While soup is simmering, add all ingredients for pesto to your food processor. Process until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.
- Uncover soup and check potatoes for doneness. If cooked, turn off heat and stir in 1/4 cup of pesto. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed. Fish out parmesan rind (if you can find it) and discard.
- Add swiss chard and allow to wilt.
- Garnish bowls with a few teaspoons of additional pesto and minced parsley, as desired.
- Feel free to substitute vegetables of your choice, or add small pasta! If adding pasta, I recommend cooking this separately so it does not impact the broth volume.