In a case of things that never happen, I’m starting with the latest of my culinary projects to share on my little piece of the internet: one big pot of soup that started out as dinner last week. And when I say soup for dinner, I’m sure we all realize that I meant dinner, lunch, dinner, lunch, reluctant lunch, and so forth. Minestrones, in particular, really hit their prime coming into days two and three, with the glory of well-muddled herbs and tomatoes before the pasta entirely falls apart. It’s soup for dinner. And lunch.
It seriously felt like YEARS since I made my last pot of this Italian staple. Chopping that celery took me right back to my first couple of years as a young twenty-something, newbie cook in Portland: hitting farmers markets, stocking up on canned tomatoes as a fall back, and seriously feeling very vegan — and very Italian American. The recipe I seemed to make all the time came courtesy of one of the Livejournal vegancooking groups. I would chop and simmer, ladle the soup into giant Tupperware containers, and haul it to my long ago temp jobs. In retrospect, like many things I was excited to cook in my early days of figuring the coking thing out, it was a wholesome recipe, but really a dish that could use a little *something* special. And better tomatoes. In combing my cabinets and looking to make some warming, economically-wise dinner (and lunch, etc. You get the point.) in ways of the vegan budget diaries the other night, I noticed a half bag of orecchiette, the half pitcher of that week’s beans: green desi chickpeas, two small cans of crushed tomatoes, the odds and ends of J. Legume’s juicing endeavors, and “minestrone” was due for a comeback. This time around, all those years later, I went with a recipe blog that looked pretty, played with the herbs and other ingredients, and gave all my love to a double dose of good ‘ol garlic, both minced and roasted here. Basically, I find myself roasting an entire head about once every other week, and it always comes in handy to make things a little more interesting (especially when one is low on stock).
Super Garlic Lova’s Minestrone
adapted from Vegetarian Venture’s Chickpea Tomato Minestrone Ingredients:
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (use less if you like)
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder (because this is how I roll)
- 4 cloves cooled, roasted garlic, smashed
- 2 celery stalks, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and minced
- 1 potato, peeled and diced > I used Yukon, but russet or really, anything else would be fine
- 4 stalks of kale, removed from the stem (if you like) and roughly chopped
- splash red or white wine
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- good pinch of nooch aka nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- 14 ounces cooked and rinsed chickpeas or other sturdy bean
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup water, as desired
- 8 ounces cooked and rinsed pasta, such as pennette or orecchiete or bowties, whatever you want!
- Heat the oil and minced garlic in your stock pot and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the dried herbs and spices, celery, carrots and potato, and cook for an additional 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Deglaze with wine, add the tomatoes, roasted garlic, sea salt, pepper, stock, nooch and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the chickpeas, kale, parsley and pasta and simmer an additional 10 minutes or so, until warm. Adjust the salt as needed.
- Serve with nooch, grated vegan Parmesan (I love the recipe in Artisan Vegan Cheese) and fresh black pepper.
I paired our initial bowls with an experiment in skinny baguette baking, because, come on. Who wouldn’t?