Minestrone Soup

Submitted by: James

(This recipe, which yields 6-8 servings, uses 2T of olive oil to saute the onion/garlic. You can use any of a number of low-fat/fat-free techniques for doing the same. This is easily one of my favorite soup recipes, second only to Mollie Katzen's Gypsy Soup from the Moosewood Cookbook.)

This classic Italian soup is always vegetarian, and if you leave off the parmesan cheese it's vegan.

Yield 6-8 servings
Time 1 hour + bean soaking and cooking*
Tools large pot, wooden spoon

2 T olive oil substitute
2 c chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 chopped celery stalk
1 chopped medium carrot
1 t minced oregano
1 t minced basil
˝ t minced rosemary
˝ t black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 c chopped zucchini
5 c vegetable stock and/or water
2 c soaked and cooked garbanzo or other beans
1 c dry, whole wheat pasta
2 c chopped tomatoes (canned ok, just watch sodium and sugar!)
minced parsley (optional)
vegan parmesan cheese (optional)

Sauté the onion and garlic in the "olive oil" (try water instead) for 5 minutes.  Add celery, carrot, and herbs, then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the zucchini and stock/water, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add beans and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Bring the soup to a boil, add pasta, and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender (7-10 minutes). Stir in the tomatoes and serve, topped with parsley and/or vegan parmesan cheese.

Notes This is a very flexible recipe: experiment with the amount of stock or water to arrive at your preferred consistency - light soup, thick stew, etc. You can also try adding other ingredients like mushrooms, cabbage, and eggplant.

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