Chickpea Tomato Minestrone Soup

Have you heard of Kitchen Daily?  I love it!  Every day they send me an email with delicious looking recipes in it.  Nearly every recipe gets Pinned to one of my Pinterest boards and I’ve even tried quite a few of them.  If you haven’t checked out Kitchen Daily, I highly recommend it!  Check out their website too, it’s filled with deliciousness!

Yesterday the email had a recipe for Chickpea Tomato Minestrone Soup.  I’m in a soup, chili, anything comforting and warm to eat mood with our fabulous below zero weather lately.  This recipe looked delicious and I had most of the ingredients in the house already.

On my way home I stopped for the few ingredients I didn’t have, a can of chickpeas and some Swiss chard.  The grocery store I stopped in didn’t have Swiss Chard or even kale (what’s up with that?) so I picked up some spinach instead.  It worked.

I make my own beef and vegetable stock.  I am lucky in that the farmer from whom we get our beef is very generous and gives me bones for free so I can make my own stock and freeze it.  I don’t have to buy the bones!  Vegetable stock is super easy and free when you make it at home whether you know the farmer or not!  I don’t know why anyone would ever buy it.

Vegetable stock is so easy.  Add the bits and ends of whatever vegetables you have in the house to a pot.  For this soup recipe you need onion, carrot and celery so at a minimum you can add the onion, carrot and celery buts to the pot.  If you have other veggies in the house throw them in too.  When I clean veggies I throw the “ends” in a bag in the freezer.  When I need to make more stock I throw them in a pot!  I also usually add some herbs, whatever I have in the house.  I had thyme so I used thyme this time.  :-)  I also threw in a couple of bay leaves.  Once you have your pot of veggies, fill it with water, get it boiling, turn it down to a simmer and let it sit for an hour.  Your house will smell wonderful!

After the stock has simmered for an hour, strain out the veggies.  I like using my Michael Ruhlman straining cloth.  It gets all the little bits out and you end up with a beautifully clear broth.  I needed four cups for the soup, the rest goes in one-cup containers in the freezer for the next time I need stock!  Don't have a Michael Ruhlman straining cloth?  You can get one at but be careful.  You may also end up with a bad ass egg spoon, a set of off-set spoons and lord knows what else!  Or you can find something around your house that will work!

Typically I would make my own noodles.  If I had been making this soup on a Saturday or Sunday I probably would have made the pasta but it was Wednesday after a long day at work and I didn’t have the time (the hour the stock was simmering was already spoken for!).  The recipe calls for “not long noodles.”  I did have some orechetti in the house but I thought Sunrise Creative Gourmet lasagnetta noodles would be prettier and I had some butternut squash lasagnetta in the cupboard!  I just broke up enough to make the cup I needed.

I cut my celery and carrots fairly large.  I like them to still be a little al dente in the soup, not mushy.  If you like softer veggies either cut them smaller or saute them a bit longer.

Once the veggies are cooked, a little chopped garlic is added.  I love the smell of garlic cooking!  Tomato paste, the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and oregano are added next.  I really like the Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced tomatoes if I have to use canned tomatoes.

If you found Swiss chard, you would throw the stems in now so they could cook down and lose a little of that bitter flavor, along with the chick peas and the pasta.  After about 10 minutes the leaves can be added.  I added the chickpeas and pasta and didn’t add the spinach until they had warmed through.

The soup definitely needs a little salt and pepper at this point and I may have added just a touch more crushed red pepper than the recipe called for.  We like a little heat in our house!

This is delicious soup.  The flavors of the vegetables come through, there’s nice texture if you cut the veggies big enough and who doesn’t love pasta?   Not only is it delicious it’s good for you too.   Look at all the colors from the vegetables!  And I think the lasagnetta worked just perfectly, it tasted great and looked pretty!

Per Serving: 175 Calories; 3g Fat (17.4% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 31g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 1mg Cholesterol; 734mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat.

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