Friday, August 21, 2009

Bean Jazz #7 Vegan Minestrone Soup

We're excited about the end of Summer and start of Fall in my house. Back to school for 3 of us, the garden is bursting with goodness and it's almost Soup Weather! I've been making this version of vegan minestrone soup since the early 1990's. With a loaf of crusty bread it's a meal in itself. It'll serve a crowd and freezes very well. This is a large recipe but you can divide it if you don't want so much.

1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
4 large onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
6-7 stalks of celery, diced
6-7 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/4 head to 1 head of cabbage, chopped (depending on how much you like cabbage--I would recommend starting with about 1/3 head and adding more next time if you really like cabbage).
300g or 10 oz. fresh or frozen sliced green beans
4 large potatoes, diced
2 large cans crushed tomatoes (must be "crushed")
2 large cans water (i.e. the tomato cans after you dump the tomatoes)
3 large or 6 small cans of beans. I usually use one large can each of garbanzo, kidney and black beans but you can substitute other types of beans.
1 cup (dry measure) of pasta, cooked. Alphabet pasta, little tubes, orzo, elbows or other small pasta all work fine.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot. I would suggest a heavy bottom 8 quart (8 liter) or larger pot. Add the diced onions to the hot oil and stir for minute or so. Add the garlic and saute the garlic and onions until they're soft, or just until they start to get brown around the edges. Add all the other veggies and stir it up. Add the tomatoes and the water, stir and cover the pot. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 90 minutes. While the pot is simmering, cook the pasta in a separate pot. After 90 minutes, add the beans to the big pot and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the cooked pasta, stir it up and it's ready to serve. Non-vegans like it with grated parmesan cheese on top.

Serve it with some fresh baked crusty bread. I recommend the No Knead Bread from the NYT website. For this bread, I use 1.5 cups white flour and 1.5 cups whole wheat flour and the oven at 510 F degrees, 30 minutes covered, 20 minutes uncovered. I cook it in a Corningware casserole dish with a lid (because I don't have the kind of covered pot he uses in the video) and it works fine.

The music in the Minestrone video is "Zabuda" by Junior Mance.