Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

Sometimes, even though I try and plan my meals around the vegetables I have on hand, I find that there are one or two veggies that go bad before I get to them. This frustrates and upsets me quite a bit because I feel guilty about the wastage. I try my level best to collect tips and tricks that increase the shelf life of veggies and fruits. I thought it may be useful to share some of these tips that I have picked up over time with my readers. In the interest of keeping this post to a reasonable length I am sharing just a few tips in this post, I will continue to share some more tips in my forthcoming posts. So here goes....

The best way to store celery is to remove it from plastic cover and firmly wrap it in aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator. I tried this one and the celery lasted a couple of weeks for me. I was not able to test it longer since I always tend to use up my celery in a couple of weeks time :-)

Honey dew and cantaloupe melons should always be stored separately as they react and rot faster if stored together. I realized when I came across this tip that I have never had a chance to put this one to test because I seem to purchase these melons one at a time and never together :-)

The third and last one is that leaving stalks on foods like tomatoes and strawberries lengthen their shelf life. I have tried this for tomatoes and it really does work. 

Another idea that works for me is to use up veggies that I have in small quantities in making soup. This way the veggies that are not sufficient for a stand alone dish gets used up along with a lot of others and helps clear out the refrigerator.It also helps that soups are one of my favorite foods, especially when the weather is cold. We had some really cold weather last week when a storm system dumped snow in our area.This turned out to be the perfect occasion for this minestrone soup which just happens to be one of my favorites. I have made this soup often since the first time I tasted this at a restaurant and decided I loved the soup enough to try and make it at home. The recipe has evolved over time and this is how I make this soup regularly now.

  photo cfecd181-04ab-404d-b64d-21ce15c5cb50_zps1590fbe0.jpg


Ingredients and Method to make Minestrone soup

1/2 cup dried cannelini or any other white beans soaked in water with a pinch of baking soda for about 6-8 hours (the soda is optional) (alternatively you can use equal quantity of red kidney bean (rajma) )
1/2 cup any small type dried pasta (I usually use multi grain shell or elbow pasta for this soup)
2 medium sized onions
2 medium carrots
4 stalks of celery (or 3 large zucchinis cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
3 very large tomatoes
1 tsp minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tsp Italian seasoning
freshly ground black pepper powder to taste (optional but recommended)
3 cups of water/ vegetable stock
2 tbsp oil
Garnish with crushed red pepper to taste (optional) 

Drain and rinse the soaked beans and place in a pot, cover with sufficient fresh water and let it simmer until the beans are cooked. ( I filled  water for about 1/2 an inch above the beans and it was sufficient for me until the beans were cooked.) Or for faster cooking, cook the beans in a pressure cooker until soft yet not mushy.Keep the cooked beans aside
In a heavy bottomed pan heat oil and add onions and saute until the onions are transparent.
Add minced garlic and saute for a minute.Add tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes are cooked and are soft and mushy.
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Add carrots, celery if using or zucchini, Italian seasoning, salt to taste and about 3 cups of water or stock and let the vegetables cook.
When the vegetables are cooked and slightly soft, add the cooked beans and freshly ground black pepper powder and let it simmer for a few minutes (about 10 minutes) Add water to achieve required consistency
Add the dried pasta and cook for an additional 10 minutes until the pasta is cooked. 
Serve hot with any bread of choice. I usually serve this with wheat rosemary focaccia bread

Serves approximately 3 to 4


48 comments :

Happy cook said...

Soup looks yumm.

Sumathi said...

Useful tips Usha.. Soup looks yummy..

Shama Nagarajan said...

wow..what a delicious soup....send this to SWC: Soups

Priti said...

That's some handy tips...thanks for that gal ;)...soup looks gud

Indhu said...

hi usha..
this soup looks delicious :)
love the addition of brown rice pasta.. and yeah.. like you commented, great minds do think alike :)

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

My fav soup. Looks so good. I have also posted my version of it long back. YUM!

Varsha Vipins said...

Thanks for tips Usha..I always face the same situ,feels upset n googles all the time for tips..Cilatro was my major enemy who wilts fast..Il share that tip in my next post..:)
Nice warming soup..:)

Hema said...

useful tips Usha.Here after celery tip is very useful for me !!!

DEESHA said...

same story with the vegetables here .. I hate wasting them .. I loved the soup .. hearty & filling

Lisa said...

Such a classic. A good nourishing and warming soup! Thanks for the tips. I never would have thought to store celery like that.

Smitha said...

Great tips. And smoking soup.Yummo!

Superchef said...

wow! Its really raining minestrone soups in the blog world. This is the third one im seeing since yesterday! good one..perfect for the snowy weather we have here!

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

minestrone soup is one of the few dishes i like in italian cuisine. hearty and tasty... looks inviting usha.

Madhavi said...

Hummm i love minestrone soup and urs looks delicious!!!

Deepa Hari said...

Soup looks yum...its the same in my case too....feel guilty when i waste veggies...thank you Usha for the wonderful tips.

Lavanya said...

yummy n healthy soup usha..

Priya said...

Delicious soup, would love to have rite now...Great work Usha:)

Priya Sriram said...

Soup looks sooo yummy and delicious Usha!! :) Wow, a healthy entry!

Akal's Saappadu said...

looks comforting and yummy!

Cham said...

Great to fill our tummy with a comfort soup like this one :)

Gita's Kitchen said...

I have never tasted Minnestrone soup before..it looks so lovely and appetizing...thanks for sharing the recipe..Please trail back to my blog. I have something waiting for you :)

Poornima Nair said...

The soup looks so yummy and comforting...Thanks for all the tips, lot wastage at my place.

Soma said...

This is a classic & an all time fav. my kids love it too!

Ashwini said...

Not tasted this soup before..But love any soups..Love the brown rice penne..Looks very colorful and very tempting..

Sunshinemom said...

I too like minestrone a lot! Yours looks delectable. I prefer brown pasta any day!

A_and_N said...

Its raining minestrones :) Lovely.

Ankita said...

lovely and healthy

Uma said...

lovely soup! looks so good usha!

Dershana said...

Nice, filling soup. The tip on storing celery was really useful!

Neha said...

Lovely soup, do check out the roundup of swc:soups..,for more variety.. :)

spicencook said...

Slurrrrrrppppppppppp........!!!

Keerthana said...

that looks like a comforting bowl of soup:)

Lakshmi Venkatesh said...

Tempting Soup. Looks colorful.

sowmya said...

this is the only veggie soup we get when we dine out..love it...thanks for sharing the nice recipe..

5 Star Foodie said...

This soup looks so yummy with the white beans!

Anu said...

Healthy soup and nice tips Usha. Thanks for sharing :)

Jaishree said...

Soup looks delicious usha..BtwI have something for u in my blog. Pls accept& trail back to my blog.

Vibaas said...

Have something for you : http://vibaas-world.blogspot.com/2009/03/potato-sandwich-and-awards.html

Sia said...

very useful tips. thanks for the tips and delicous recipe for soup :)

Bharti said...

Thanks for the tips. I love minestrone and usually make it either when I come back from my shopping trip when I have everything or when I'm trying to clean out my fridge like you.

Madhumathi said...

This is a healthy n hearty soup..It looks so yummy :)

AnuSriram said...

Thats always a comforting food! Irresistable for this wintery weather... Have something for you in my blog.. Pls accept!

Vaishali said...

A delicious and classic soup, Usha. What a lovely version.

Food Fanatic said...

super awesome! i have been looking for this recipe! thanks a bunch, usha

Sukanya said...

My daughter loves the Instant minestrone soup. The soup made by you looks quite filling. Yummy.Just the thing that would soothe my sore throat.

Red Chillies said...

Great tips. I also store tomatoes, cantaloupe in the fridge (right or wrong I am not sure). Also for some vegetable in the fridge, I also surround it with paper that way the water is absorbed.

Good looking soup!

Divya Vikram said...

Lovely soup n lovely tips.

Supriya said...

I love Minestrone soup Usha, especially the home-made kind where I know exactly whats in it. Your soup looks great.

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