Minestrone alla Toscana

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I didn’t know what to call this soup. I saw it as a light bean and pasta soup, which to me is a minestrone but I feared that most associate minestrone with a thick stew-like tomato soup with vegetables and pasta which this is most certainly not.

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So I set about researching online a soup of this type and what to name it. It was clear it was by definition a version of a minestrone which has very few rules except a base of preferably fresh vegetable but also a use of all the produce remnants from squash to cabbage which is only further varied between regions of Italy.

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I came across what I thought was a wonderful article where I fell in love with the words “Nothing comforts quite like a warming bowl of beans, vegetables and pasta, cooked together so long that the beans taste of carrot and the carrots taste of olive oil.”. It was also here that I was encouraged by the reminder of Nigella’s famous recipe where she ‘ “resolutely” refuses to use any tomatoes, instead asking us to soften a succession of vegetables…before cooking to “honeyed savouriness”.’ Alas, I had the confidence to offer my humble bean, vegetable and pasta soup entitled a minestrone but with the suffix alla Toscana highlighting the very Tuscan tradition of adding beans to a minestrone.

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Luckily, this version tastes great without 2-3 hours on the stove and can be ready and delicious in as little as 35 minutes. Equally however, it won’t suffer for a long simmer (it’ll need extra water) or a slow cooker preparation.

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Ingredients: Serves 4

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil (optional)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into roughly 1.5 cm rounds
  • 1 large stick of celery, diced
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 large stems fresh rosemary, stripped and roughly chopped
  • A handful of fresh thyme sprigs, stripped
  • 1 litre (4 cups) vegan chicken style stock (or your favourite vegetable stock)
  • 150g (1.5 cups) dry pasta, preferably conchiglie or shells to hold the soup
  • 1 (400g/14 oz) can cannellini beans, undrained (or other white beans)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Take a large pan or soup pot and add the oil if using or alternatively add 4 tbsp of water or extra stock. Place over a medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and a good pinch of salt and soften, stirring for 5 minutes then add the carrot and celery and do the same.
  3. Add the garlic and the herbs and stir, add a small splash of stock if the vegetables are sticking. After a couple of minutes the herbs and garlic should smell really fragrant, at this stage pour in the remaining stock. Lower the heat slightly, cover the pot and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. At this point, add the beans and their canning liquid and the pasta which should be immersed in water. If not then add more to ensure the pasta is covered by an inch or so. After ten minutes, add the nutritional yeast, a good grinding of black pepper and taste for salt.
  5. Serve with good bread and an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast (or a grating of vegan cheese) and black pepper.

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screenshot-www.caloriecount.com 2015-03-13 14-21-16

Nutritional Benefits

Low in saturated fat

High in dietary fiber

High in iron

High in niacin

High in riboflavin

High in thiamin

Very high in vitamin A

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12 Responses to Minestrone alla Toscana

  1. This looks wonderful! I’m going to try it next week. Yum!

  2. evesfca says:

    Hi Poppy, Unfortunately the link isn’t working to get me to this soup recipe! And it looks so good! Please check it out and let me know when the link is working because I’d love to try it.

    xoxo, Eve

  3. Poppy, your photos are making my mouth water! So comforting and homey!

  4. Terri Cole says:

    Poppy, that’s a lovely soup! The email link did not work for me either, but I got here through your homepage.

    • Poppy says:

      Sorry Terri there was a strange issue it originally posted with the wrong date which is the link followers received. Apologies but I’m glad you found your way!

  5. Rose says:

    How simple and lovely that looks, thank you Poppy! That looks great for our time of year where summer is fading and autumn is coming in.

  6. Rose says:

    PS The Feedly link didn’t work either but I can see the problem: the post is actually 2015/03/13 but the link was 2015/03/08.

  7. Choclette says:

    I do like a good hearty soup and this one looks as though it would fit the bill very nicely.

  8. Pingback: Vegan Minestrone Soup | Vegan Recipes & Vegan Dinner Ideas

  9. Pingback: Celery Soup with Stilton and Croutons - thinlyspread.co.uk

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