This soup is a different than our traditional tomato rich minestrone. We make this version with fresh green vegetables and herbs and finish it with either a basil pesto or a basil pistou for our vegan soupers. Both sauces add a rich, but clean “greenosity” that takes this soup over the top. The recipe starts with a sofrito of leeks, onion, garlic and shallots, organic celery, and fresh herbs sautéed in extra virgin olive oil. A citrus vegetable stock comes next and then each ingredient that’s added to this stock is sautéed individually, adding it’s own profile to the soup and building flavors with each addition to the short simmer. This is an “anytime of year” soup, but during the spring and summer months, when we have so many green ingredients at the markets. it is at it’s very best.
START with the PESTO or PISTOU
- 1/4 C pine nuts, toasted
- 1 C fresh organic basil leaves
- 1 C fresh organic Italian parsley
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 T fresh lemon juice
- 1 C extra virgin olive oil
- for Pesto, add in 1 C freshly grated parmesan or asiago
- salt and pepper to taste
Put everything in your blender, drizzle the olive oil as you’re blending. If you’re making the pesto, add the cheese after you get a smooth consistency. Salt and pepper to your liking. Not much salt is necessary if adding the cheese.
- 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil, plus more for vegetable saute
- 1 C fresh organic leeks (white and light green parts), washed and coarsely chopped
- 1 C onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 C shallot, finely chopped
- 1 C organic celery, chopped
- 3 T minced garlic
- 1 T dry thyme
- 1 T fresh tarragon (or dry)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (optional0
In a medium to large stock pot on medium heat, add olive oil and saute leeks, onion, shallot and celery for about 5 minutes. Add in garlic, thyme, tarragon, bay leaves and salt and saute for another 5 minutes.
- 2 Qrts organic store bought vegetable stock (Select a clearer broth to uphold the greener minestrone version)
- 1-1/2 C organic garbanzos (or white beans)
- 1 T fresh lemon zest
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- 4 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 C organic zucchini, diced (approxinmately 2 medium zucchini)
- 1-1/2 C organic green beans, trimmed and cut into 1″ lengths (approxinmately 3/4 lb)
- 2 T water
- 2 C lacinato kale (Tuscan kale) – approximately 2 bunches, leaves torn from center stem and coarsely chopped
- 2 C organic spinach
- 2 T fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 T kosher salt
- 1 T cracked black pepper
- 1/3 C organic Italian parsley, chopped
Pour your vegetable stock into stock pot with the sofrito and turn heat down to medium-low. Add in garbanzo beans. lemon zest, lemon juice.
In a large saute pan, add in 1 T olive oil and saute chopped zucchini with 1/2 T of fresh thyme, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper for about 4-5 minutes. Add cooked zucchini to soup stock. In the same saute pan, add 1 T olive oil, cut green beans, 1/2 T of fresh thyme, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper and 2 T water and saute for about 4-5 minutes – until fork tender. Add cooked beans to soup stock. In the same saute pan, add in 2 T olive oil, 1 T thyme, chopped kale and spinach and 2 T of soup stock and saute with a 1/2 tsp of salt until just slightly wilted. Add cooked kale and spinach to soup stock. Bring heat up to medium. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.
Serve in warmed bowls with 1-2 tablespoons pesto or pistou. Garnish with chopped parsley and cracked black pepper. Serve with a nice artisan bread or artisan bread salad with a sharp vinaigrette.
Store bought vegetable stock varies in color. For this recipe, favorites include Kettle & Fire, Pacific and Wild Harvest. Even Simple Truth offers a fairly good organic vegetable stock.
Store bought pesto or pistou can make this a much easier soup to produce. There are so many good pestos on the market that this would be just fine. OR if you’re like me, you can make your pesto several days ahead of time and store in a glass jar in your fridge or freezer.