As part of the new year, I am trying to prepare more fruit and veggies for my family. This can be challenging in the winter when fresh fruits are harder to find. However, at this time of year, there is always an abundance of root vegetables at your markets. There is nothing like a big bowl of hearty soup on a cold winters day. I remember my grandmother just pulling things out of her pantry and fridge and creating these amazing soups in a pinch. Minestrone is such a wonderful dish and while this recipe does require some shopping before hand, it is well worth it and also I adapted it to be a gluten free soup recipe .
Don’t you just love one pot meals. You have everything you need for a hearty winter supper in one bowl. Plus this minestrone soup is just beaming with fresh vegetables that the kids won’t realize you are trying to sneak in some nutrition. We are not a gluten free family but I decided to try to get substitutes when I could find them. Let’s face it, the garlic bread slices I served on the side are the real thing, everything in moderation my grandmother would say.
Just look at this display of fresh veggies that go into this soup. I purchased pre-cut butternut squash b/c I was feeling lazy! I also decided to use some Italian or Dinasour Kale instead of Spinach.
The most unhealthy part of this recipe is the pancetta. And honestly, I really could not taste it so if you don’t like pancetta just use a little more olive oil.
You just add all the veggies and allow it to simmer away.
I used a gluten-free elbow macaroni but next time I would 1) use a smaller amount or 2)use a smaller sized pasta.
I prepared the minestrone soup earlier in the day and right before serving I boiled the pasta and added it then. Pasta tends to absorb all the broth in soups. This is also the time to add your pesto to the hearty soup recipe.
- Good olive oil
- 3 ounces pancetta, 1/2-inch-diced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
- 2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) carrots
- 2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) celery
- 2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) peeled butternut squash
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 (26-ounce) can diced tomatoes,
- 6 to 8 cups chicken stock, we used all 8 (2 boxes organic low sodium stock)
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups cooked small pasta, we used gluten free elbow macaroni
- 8 to 10 ounces fresh Kale trimmed or baby spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto or homemade pesto
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add Kale after 15 minutes of cooking. After 30 minutes, discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. You can add more chicken stock if too thick.
- Just before serving, reheat the soup, stir in pesto. (if using spinach only add it now) Season the soup for taste.
What is your favorite winter time soup recipe?