Oh the soup life.
Soups are great for when the nights are rainy, when the day has been shite and you need a hug-in-a-bowl, when you're not feeling well, or when you'r trying to lose a few pounds.
Soups are soothing in general, but what makes this minestrone a winner is that it's a whole meal on its own, so you can make it in a large singular pot and you've got a whole meal sorted out. It's filled with vegetables and beans for protein, and if you make extra, you can freeze them in batches, and use them later to drench chicken meatballs in, or even add a handful of pasta as you reheat it.
When you make a recipe as simple as soup, the key is to rely on the spices and herbs for depth of flavor. This is especially important when making vegetarian meals, since you no longer have the factor of animal fat for taste.
Here's a recipe that I've used plenty of times, and the beauty of this is that you can feel free to add any extra sturdy vegetables you've got stashed in your fridge that needs using.
What You Need:
Small pinch fennel seeds
Small pinch coriander seeds
Small pinch mustard seeds
Small pinch of dried herbs you have on hand like thyme, rosemary or oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp crushed black pepper
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, roughly sliced
1 whole white onion, roughly chopped
2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
1 cube vegetable stock
1 can butter beans
Optional - kale, or sugarnap peas, or chopped capsicum
What You Do:
1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot (so that stuff don't burn too quickly), heat about 3 tbsp of olive oil with low heat. Add the fennel seeds, mustard seeds and coriander seeds as the oil begins to get hot. Listen up for the sizzle.
2. Add the chopped carrots, onions,celery, crushed pepper and garlic powder. Cook them low and slow until they soften, and make sure they don't burn. This will be the base for the soup, giving the entire dish natural sweetness and texture.
3. After about 3-5 mins, add the canned tomatoes. Crush them with the back of your wooden spoon. Refill a can with water and add to the soup. Throw in the vegetable cube too, making sure it is well dissolved.
4. Cook until it comes to the boil, then taste. Add and adjust with salt to your liking.
5. Drain the butter beans and add to the soup. Simmer over low heat for at least 20 mins, or until everything is all mixed and cooked together.
6. If you want to add some extra vegetables, do that in the final 5 mins.
7. To serve, ladle soup into bowls, and drizzle some olive oil. For extra pezzaz, you can also grate some parmesan cheese on top (you know what else go super great with this? Crumbled feta cheese).
8. For freezing - store in containers, and after you've reheated it, rejuvenate with a drizzle of olive oil, some crushed pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.