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.
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.
Gluten-free: 'gluten-free' labeled quinoa
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
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
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
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)
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
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! :)