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Wholesome, slow-cooked, the famous Italian Minestrone soup

Updated: Apr 1, 2022


Minestrone is a hearty Italian vegetable soup, which is tomato and pasta-based, but this one is with a twist! It's high in protein as quinoa and lentils increase the protein content and make it more filling!



Even though this soup recipe is an extremely-easy one and no real cooking skills required but I would point out to the key secrets for a flavorful soup. In my opinion, apart from the flavors of simmering it on the stove-top (as compared to pressure cooking), the important layers of flavorings come from- caramelized onions, garlic, Italian and roasted garlic and herb seasoning, mushrooms, and nutritional yeast!


Soup is a great way to consume a ton of colorful veggies and your greens! It's also a wonderful way to use up lot of the greens like kale and collard greens.


vegetarian minestrone soup, heart healthy soup, nutritional meal

For vegetarians, the benefits of using nutritional yeast is multi-fold. It is a great source of vitamin B, which is not easy to get for vegetarians. It is fortified with vitamin B12, which is one of the most difficult nutrients for non-animal product eaters. Also, it is a source of complete protein, which makes it unique.


It helps building immunity and provides essential amino acids, helps with digestion, keeps hair and skin healthy and boosts metabolism. If you describe the taste of nutritional yeast, it's strong and close to a cheesy taste. Ways to add more of it in everyday cooking would be more or less in Italian foods like pasta, soups, salads, sandwiches, etc.


So, let's jump to the recipe.



RECIPE:


Gluten-free: 'gluten-free' labeled quinoa

Nut-free

Egg-free

Vegan

Soy-free

LOW-carb

KETO-friendly: skip or use sparingly- lentils and quinoa; substitute sweet potatoes for same amount of cauliflower florets + 2 tbsp almond flour mixed in 2 tbsp heavy cream (for thickness) + sprinkle of sweetener

Prep time: 10 minute

Cook time: 40 min

Serves: 3-4


Ingredients:

  • quinoa, 1.5 tbsp

  • yellow split peas, 1.5 tbsp

  • red lentils, 1.5 tbsp

  • olive oil, 2-3 tbsp

  • garlic, chopped, 3-4 cloves

  • onion, chopped, 1 cup

  • 4 cups of water

Veggies:

  • celery sticks, chopped, 1 cup

  • mushrooms, diced, 1- 1 1/2 cup

  • sweet potatoes, diced, 3/4- 1 cup

  • tomato paste, 1 tbsp

  • yellow squash or zucchini, chopped, 2 cups

  • broccoli florets, 1 cup

  • power greens or kale, chopped, 1 cup

  • 1.5 lbs fresh tomatoes, chopped

Seasonings:

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • nutritional yeast, 1-2 tbsp

  • Italian seasoning, dried, 1 tsp

  • salt to taste

  • roasted garlic and herb seasoning, 1 Tbsp

  • basil leaves, (optional)








Instructions:

  • wash and soak lentils for at least 1 hour

  • add oil to the pot. Caramelize the onions till brown, add garlic. Toss other veggies, lentils, quinoa, tomatoes, tomato paste and water to the pot.

  • total cook time is 40 to 45 minutes, on medium flame. Halfway, add all the seasonings and keep flame low-medium. Keep the pot covered.

  • serve warm. Top it off with fresh basil leaves, if available.


Served with: a side of any multigrain bread or just by itself



Pro Tips:

  • caramelize the onions, sweat the vegetables like mushrooms, celery and carrots, these add the aroma, which is the most important first step in soup making

  • stove-top simmering is a great way to make more flavorful soups as compared to the pressure cooking

  • a small hint of butter on top, before serving adds more flavor, totally optional

  • if possible, avoid skipping the mushrooms (it's the best alternative to vegetable broth), celery, and nutritional yeast (to make it more nutritious and add to the cheesy flavor).

  • soups taste way better the next day, always make enough for leftovers

Try another flavorful tomato-bisque soup recipe!

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Give this recipe a try, please share a pic, would love to hear how did it come out! Enjoy! :)


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