Monday, January 19, 2015

Minestrone Soup with Brown Rice

vegan minestrone soup

Minestrone Soup with Brown Rice
Yesterday afternoon, Jeff and I arrived to our house in the country. We haven’t been here since the holiday spending less time among the beautiful quiet isolation because the weather is a bit harsher, and setting a little lonelier than the city.  
When I arrived, I was welcomed to an icy walkway and icy temperatures, clearly not wearing the appropriate grip shoes needed to get from car to front door with all my belongings.  The temperature inside the house read a cool 56 degrees, nothing that a thick sweater and fluffy slippers can’t temporarily comfort until Jeff fires up the wood burning stove. Providing further warmth, I curled up on the couch with my dog Alice snuggly beside me having found a cozy nook in the folded part of my legs. 

Deciding what comfort food to make for dinner, I stumbled upon a pretty bowl of minestrone soup with pasta peeking up from the tomato broth, a nice tease and change from the curries and chili I usually make.  So I gathered the vegetables I wanted to use and looked in the pantry for pasta realizing I had none as typically used in minestrone. However, I always have grain and settled on brown rice - so glad I did. The lighter choice seemed to be less filling and digest better, not to mention, make a lovely presentation when served. But don’t get me wrong a little macaroni would have been good too. 

*Note: this soup thickens up the next day if left over.

* Note about fire roasted tomatoes.

I use organic canned ones and noticed some brands have a thicker sauce than others, in that case since I use ones that are less thick, I will crush them in a blender for more of a tomato sauce still leaving bits of tomato not totally pureed – this will taste better in your soup, so try not to ignore this step. 

Minestrone Soup with Brown Rice
Feeds 4

One medium sweet onion chopped
Sprinkle cracked red pepper
3 cloves garlic minced
3 medium carrots sliced into rounds
1 large potato peeled and cubed – soak in water to prevent browning until ready to use
1 tbsp dry oregano crushed between fingers
1 tbsp dry thyme crushed between fingers
28oz can fire roasted tomatoes 
14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes 
4 cups veggie broth -  not too salty
Large handful green beans cut into thirds – bite size
14 oz cannellini beans rinsed
Kale sliced into ribbons
Sea Salt

 1. Cook 1 cup of brown rice separately and not in the soup otherwise the rice will absorb too much of the broth, and I like the presentation of the rice served on top which can be mixed in by the person eating it.

Note about rice – after it’s cooked fluff with fork and keep covered for additional 10-15 minutes it will get fluffier

2. In a large pot sauté the onions with sprinkle of cracked red pepper for 4 minutes in extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, I use coconut, and it doesn’t take like coconut. Add the garlic and carrots and stir one minute, drain the potatoes from the water and add to the pot along with the thyme and oregano and toss one minute. Add both cans of the tomatoes and stir one minute, add the veggie broth and ½ teaspoon sea salt, if needed, and bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 14 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, not mushy, then add the green beans, and cannellini beans and simmer 3-4 more minutes until green beans are tender but still crunchy – not soft.  Taste again and season with more salt if needed. Don’t add the kale yet.

Add a handful of chopped fresh kale to the bottom of a bowl, and add the soup on top, the kale will wilt from the heat.  If you have a little dessert cup add some rice to it and press, this will create a pretty mold. Now turn it over on top of the bowl of soup.  Add fresh parsley and cracked black pepper.

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