Minestrone for the soul

Minestrone is one of those soups that warm the soul and feed the body. I made a large batch for a friends who had fallen ill, and her friends decided to take turns cooking meals for her.

I decided to make minestrone for her and her family, and serve it with a loaf of french bread.

I made my soup with vegetable broth, so the meal was vegan, even if no one realized it. It was one of my best creations – a light comfort food that is welcome in my house year round.

This is an easy version of the classic recipe. 

First I put water on to boil for the pasta (I use radiatore since it doesn’t easily get soggy in broth. Half a box is enough for a full pot. Once water boils, cook according to package instructions. Drain and set aside when done.

Then I chop 1 small onion, three stalks of celery, three carrots and three cloves of garlic. 

In a 5-quart pot, sauté the onion, celery and carrots in a teaspoon or so of olive oil until the onion and celery are translucent and the carrots begin to soften. Stir in garlic and sauté a few minutes longer. 

Stir in some greens – I used spinach here, but any leafy green will do. About half a pound is plenty enough. Let the greens wilt then stir in a can of diced tomatoes. 

Add 2 quarts of vegetable broth and two cans of undefined kidney or cannellini beans (I usually get two different kinds for contrast). Bring to a boil and add a couple bay leaves. 

Reduce heat and let simmer 10-15 minutes. Stir in the past and simmer another five minutes or to let the pasta heat up and soak in some of the flavors of the soup. Remove bay leaves. 

Serve immediately. Garnish with vegan Parmesan, if desired. 

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