Thursday, November 4, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Hearty Minestrone

This is my first MoFo post, I'm intending to post one MOST days of the week, so we'll see how this goes! 

My fellow vegans, soup season is upon us!

And ohmigoodness did I want some soup today. I wanted thick, chunky, vegetable-packed, entire-meal-in-a-bowl, soup. Luckily, I planned for this morning and I had everything on hand to make some homemade minestrone!

I haven't ate any in awhile because I've been too lazy to make some and most canned varieties contain chicken broth. I always hate it when they ruin a good soup by doing that. Anywho. This morning I set out to make my soup. I was babysitting my two-year-old niece as well and she was very intrigued by all this cooking business. She asked what each of the ingredients were as I added them and since she was curious about the "hot smoke" coming up out of the pot I lifted her up to see it all cooking. She ate a bowl of it when I was done, though she picked out all the spinach. Lol. She's not vegetarian (though her dad is), but any time she's with me we try lots of new foods together. She loves beans, so we eat a lot of those, and she loved my gluten-free pumpkin bread. We also like to snack on lots of fruit. It's kind of fun because she gets really excited when she tries something new and likes it (kind of like me...).

So, back to soup!

This soup is pretty easy to make. Using a mixed of canned and frozen vegetables really cut down on the prep time. It's also thick and hearty, just like a good soup should be (I'm not even mentioning how low in fat and calories and how high in fiber it is. Except I just did...).

Since minestrone contains pasta I always cook it separate and add it as I eat the soup, otherwise it will get all mushy as it sits in the fridge. If you plan on serving the whole pot at once, you can add the pasta to the pot, but you might need a little extra liquid to compensate for it. This recipe makes a large pot of soup, probably about 10-12 good-sized servings. You're gonna love it! My picture doesn't really look like soup but I promise it is! I just added a little extra pasta to it (and I didn't have any of the small kinds, lol).

I leave the peel on my zucchini, but to get off the wax I wash it with a little dish soap and give it a good rinse. It works great, lol. Still have half a can of tomato paste left? Use it to make my homestyle vegan chili (coming soon) or a double batch of seitan

Hearty Minestrone:
1 Tb. oil
1 Tb. minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
1 c. chopped celery (about 3-5 stalks)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 1/2 c. frozen corn, pea, and carrot blend
1 1/2 c. frozen green beans
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes, in liquid
1 (15-oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained.
1/2 (6-oz) can tomato paste
3 c. vegetable broth
3 1/2 c. water
1 small pkg. (about 5-oz) baby spinach, rinsed
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried basil
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Pasta of choice (a good ol' elbow, shell, or ditalini pasta works well), about 1/2 serving per person

1. Saute onion and celery in oil for about five minutes. Add the garlic and continue to saute another two or three minutes.
2. Add the vegetable broth, water, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, and add the zucchini, the corn/pea/carrot blend, the green beans, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, sugar, parsley, oregano, and basil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer 40 minutes. Add the spinach and let simmer about five minutes, or until wilted. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions during the soup's last 15 minutes of cooking.
4. Combine the pasta and the soup before serving.

So that's what I've been eating when I haven't been eating breakfast. I've mentioned before that I've been eating a lot of bowls o' goodness and I have another one for you today. Today's bowl is brought to you by the one of my favorite fall fruits:

(yep, it's a fruit. This might explain why I like it covered in sugar...)

This breakfast is kind of large, but I got a busy day ahead of me today (and also a two-year-old niece next to me demanding "toast" and "bite"). The Cream of Wheat is cooked with a large scoop of canned pumpkin and topped with pumpkin pie spice, vanilla stevia (yeah! Cutting the sugar out of brekky!), and some of my homemade Everything Granola. The toast is sprouted wheat toast from Alvarado St. Bakery, it's similar to Ezekial, and it's topped with Smart Balance Light. The sausage is Gimmie Lean and my coffee is of course, black. It was sooo good and good for me!

Coming Soon: vegan apple pie, easy chili for new vegans, broccoli quiche, and pumpkin pie pancakes!

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