National Soup Month might be over but we still have a few soup recipes worth sharing. It’s that time of year when a hot bowl of soup is the only thing that sounds good for dinner. If you think about it, there are a lot of great perks when it comes to making soup for dinner. It comes together in one pot so cleanup is minimal. You can make it in larger batches making it good for a crowd or saving it for lunches and dinners on busy nights. The ingredients are good for you (typically). At least this recipe is pretty decent on the nutrition side of things. Best of all, they’re flexible. You can omit or add any ingredients as you'd like.
Minestrone is a soup that I grew up with. We always ordered it from our favorite Italian restaurants on pizza night. If any restaurant offered minestrone in their selection, we would always pick it. It’s hearty and comforting but also adaptable. Take this recipe, for example. Traditionally, you won’t find meat in a minestrone soup. It’s all veggie. Since I wanted this to be good enough for a main dish, adding a meat seemed like a pretty good idea. I used ground beef but ground sausage or turkey for a healthier alternative would also be delicious. The veggies included here are pretty standard but feel free to use whatever you have in your vegetable drawer. Same with the beans and pasta. I like gemelli because it’s sturdy enough for storing in the freezer and reheating.
BEEF MINESTRONE SOUP
1 lb. Ground Beef
2 large Carrots, sliced
2 Celery Stalks, sliced
1 large White or Yellow Onion, diced
4 garlic Cloves, chopped
1 Leek, white parts only halved and sliced
2 tbsp. Tomato Paste
1 Green Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup Gemelli Pasta
14 oz. Garbanzo Beans, rinsed and drained
14 oz. Italian Diced Tomatoes
4 tbsp. Olive Oil
6 cups Vegetable or Beef Stock
1 Bunch Kale, chopped
Salt and Pepper
1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, peppers and leeks. Cook, stirring often until vegetables have softened slightly. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up as you go until meat is browned and vegetables begin to soften.
2. Add in beans, tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil and let simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add the pasta and kale, cook 8-10 minutes until pasta is al dente and kale has wilted. Serve.
OPTIONAL: For extra flavor, add a Parmesan Cheese rind to the soup while it’s simmering.
Yields 8-10 Servings
How do you like your minestrone, meaty or veggies-only?