Monday, March 19, 2012

Veggie Minestrone

Before you blow it off as a vegetarian meal, try it, and see if you even notice the lack of meat. I created this soup and it was so good and so filling and so full of vegetables, Eric didn't notice until I mentioned later that I had fit in 2 vegetarian meals that week.

We try not to buy too many prepared foods, if I can find a way to substitute with fresh produce, I will. So when I was craving minestrone and all the recipes called for canned tomatoes and canned vegetables, I decided to invent my own recipe.

For this recipe, you'll need a blender. We have a blendtec, which is strong enough to puree even hard foods like raw beets or carrots (when paired with liquidy foods like tomatoes), but if you don't have a strong blender, you can modify it to only use veggies you can handle.

I don't believe in hiding veggies completely. If I can add a pureed fruit or veggie into something like pancakes or soup without the kids noticing, great, but I think if you hide it from them every time, they'll still grow up thinking they don't like it. So, I pureed a ton of veggies for this, which made a nice thick soup, but I also diced veggies. My kids gobbled this soup up, even Jeb and Journey, who aren't the biggest fans of veggies right now.

In your blender, puree until smooth:
2 large tomatoes
1 small zucchini
1 stalk celery
small bunch of chard (or spinach or kale or other green)
1 small beet
3 cloves garlic (I think I did 5, I love garlic!)

You can substitute any of these veggies, except the tomatoes. Green peppers would be a good addition.

Pour the veggie puree and
6 cups of broth into a pot. While it starts to boil, chop up:
1 large carrot
1 small zucchini
1 stalk celery
2 medium tomatoes
1 bunch kale (or spinach or chard)

When the soup is boiling, add in the chopped veggies and
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp Italian seasoning
pinch of salt
1 cup small pasta. I used ditalini.
You could also add a can of cannelini beans, or other small bean, for more protein.

When the pasta is cooked and the veggies are tender, serve this delicious soup with a crusty bread and shredded parmesan cheese on top. Yum!

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