Cook With Confidence: Summer Minestrone Soup
Hi guys! I am so excited to share this soup recipe with you all today. When you think of the warm summer months you don't necessarily think of nestling in for a nice bowl of hot soup to warm you up. However, with summer comes (at least in the South) plenty of rain storms, showers, and unpredictable summer weather that can sometimes keep you housebound instead of outside enjoying the sunshine. This soup is also a great way to enjoy some of the best summer produce like squash, zucchini, kale, tomatoes, and fresh green beans. Interested? Well let's get started!
For this recipe, the simmering and boiling is the easy part. The hard part comes from chopping and prepping all these tasty fresh ingredients. So be warned, if you're low on time, I would highly recommend buying pre-cut vegetables for this recipe. Most of my ingredients were fresh and un-chopped, which I definitely paid for it in terms of the time spent prepping, but the soup turned out so well in the end that I ain't even mad.
The first step is lightly sautéing some of the chopped veggies, namely the leeks, carrots, garlic, and celery. If you've never chopped a leek before and have no idea what it is (Don't feel bad, I was in that category) it's a lot like an onion with a long stalk and lots of layers that sprout out at the top. The aroma is really strong at first just like an onion, but it simmers down and settles into the flavors of the soup later so it's not overwhelming. Once those veggies are softened down, you'll add tomato paste and diced tomatoes.
After the stock is added (I used a vegetable stock instead of a chicken stock to keep with the vegetable theme of the soup) you can take care of all the other veggies that need to be chopped, prepped, and added in later while you're waiting for the pot to boil. The pasta, cannellini beans, bell peppers, squash, and green beans go in next, and kale after that. If you like a firmer kale, add that in a few minutes before serving. Because the pasta is one of my favorite features of minestrone soup, I doubled the amount called for in the recipe and instead used 1 cup instead of 1/2 of a cup, which gave me more of a stew in the end than a true soup.
That's all there is to it! Although all that chopping does take time, this soup is super simple, delicious, filled to the brim with summer veggies, and makes a great leftover or freezer option for those summer days when the storm clouds roll in and it just feels better to stay in and curl up with a good book for a while.