A few weeks ago, we had our first cold snap–it was 35 degrees for a couple mornings! So, of course, the first thing I thought of was making soup. Ok, that’s a lie. First, I thought about putting on sweatpants and curling up under a blanket to do nothing. Then I thought about soup.
I tweaked an Ina Garten recipe and while I didn’t have Jeffrey here or have the most “fabulous” table arrangement like she would…it was still pretty darn good. (I bet Ina has never said “pretty darn good” in her life.)
Don’t be intimidated by the long list. It comes together quickly and is definitely worth the effort, especially on a cool day. Don’t skip the pesto bruschetta! It’s the best part, especially for dipping in the soup. This recipe calls for white wine, so obviously you have to serve it with the wine that’s left over. Waste not, want not!
Hearty Minestrone Soup
(gluten-free and vegan!)
- 3 T olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, carrots
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2.5 cups diced peeled butternut squash
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
- 26 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
- 6 to 8 cups vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (15-oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups cooked small gluten-free pasta, such as shells*
- 8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
- 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto (or you can make it if you’re feeling really ambitious)
- Garlic Pesto Bruschetta (recipe follows)
(1) Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.
(2) Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the vegetable stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1.5 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
(3) Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be pretty thick but if it’s too thick for your taste, add more stock. (You won’t see me doing this! I like my soups thicker!) Just before serving, add the spinach, and gently stir it in. Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto.
(4) Depending on the saltiness of your stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste. Spoon into large shallow bowls with a bruschetta or two on top. Drizzle olive oil over the bread and soup just before serving.
*Notes on your gluten-free pasta: Be sure to rinse your pasta when it’s finished cooking and I’d recommend undercooking it a little since it’ll soften up a bit more when you add it to the soup. I love this brand and buy it at Whole Foods (it’s on Amazon too), but Trader Joe’s has more affordable gluten-free pastas that are great too.
Garlic Pesto Bruschetta
- 1 gluten-free baguette (or regular, if you’re not doing the gf thing); I like Against the Grain baguettes in the freezer aisle
- 1 glove garlic, peeled + parsley (dried or fresh) OR 2-4 T pesto
(1) Slice your baguette a hard angle and lay out on a cookie sheet.
(2) Rub the garlic clove onto the slices. Sprinkle with parsley if you’re skipping the pesto part.
(3) Toast under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until brown and the edges are crispy. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn!
I’ve made this twice now and the second time I did all my baguette slices with pesto—and lots of it—since it was so good. You can even skip the garlic rubbing if you are doing pesto.
Enjoy! Let me know if you try it!