Soup in the middle of the scorching summer? That’s what I usually say. I do like me some soup, but it seems to just fit better on a frigid winter day when you want to be huddled up in a million blankets.
But this soup is a nice, light, and refreshing change. And healthy to boot! And since this is the time of the year to find better produce at your grocery store (or even better, from your garden), I thought you might want to give it a try. I absolutely love this soup!
The key to this soup is the order in which you add the ingredients. It helps bring out the natural flavor of each, without overcooking anything (nobody wants soggy zucchini, right?). Eliminate the kidney beans and pasta shells to make a nice vegetable soup version. And if you are truly a vegetable lover, you can always add even more variety!
Garden Fresh Minestrone Soup
- ¼ cup pure olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 carrot or 4-5 baby carrots, diced, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 red bell peppers diced
- 2 zucchini diced
- 2 large tomatoes save as much juice as possible, diced
- 1 sprig whole fresh thyme remove after cooked
- 6 cups vegetable or beef broth I like making my own using base and water rather than the pre-canned broth
- 1 can kidney beans drained and washed
- 3-4 sprigs parsley chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups medium pasta shells coat with olive oil to prevent them from sticking together, cooked and drained
- Parmesan cheese to garnish
In a deep stock pot, sauté the onions, carrots, and crushed garlic cloves over medium heat in the olive oil until they begin to tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the red peppers and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add (in this order) zucchini, tomatoes, thyme, and broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes.
Add the kidney beans and parsley and cook for 5 more minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add desired amount of pasta shells and soup to each bowl.
Garnish with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
Dress it Up (Gourmet):
If you want to really veggie it up - add 2 stalks celery, diced (with onions/carrots), 1 cup cauliflower florets (with tomatoes), 1 cup green beans, cut into one inch slices (with parsley), and 1 cup broccoli florets (put in right at end - will cook in broth). And for even more variety, substitute one green pepper for one of the red peppers, and one yellow squash for one of the zucchini.
Dress it Down (Simpler):
Eliminate the kidney beans and the pasta shells for a strictly veggie soup.
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