Simple Minestrone

Now that's MINESTRONE!

We try to do Meatless Mondays. I guess because of Paul McCartney? Or Frances Moore Lappé? The idea is that first-world people should make an effort to be more sustainable at least once a week by not eating meat. We usually have rice and beans, or occasionally a pasta primavera. This time I tried minestrone. I’m not Italian, so my minestrone is composed of sautéed crisp-tender vegetables in broth with some kind of pasta.

  • 1 hunk of butter (leave this out and you'll be vegan I think)
  • 1 pour of olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion or 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 3-4 celery stalks
  • 1 zucchini
  • 32-oz box of broth (No-Chicken or veggie for that complete Meatlessness)
  • Any random tomatoes, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 pound baby lima beans (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 pound pasta (I used ditalini)
  • Seasonings of choice, such as Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt, oregano, Trocomare
  • Grated cheese, such as parmesan or a young cheddar (optional)

Step One: Chop the onion and garlic. Not shown: Also, turn on low heat under a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add your butter and/or olive oil, and when the butter melts, throw in first the onion, then the garlic. Stir often as you proceed with next steps.

Step Two: Chop the carrot. Add to the sauté pan.

Step Three: Chop celery and add to the sauté pan. (Add chopped celery leaves, too! Yum!)

Step Four: Chop zucchini and guess what... add to sauté pan.

Step Five: Keep stirring occasionally. The zucchini is the canary in the coal mine here. When it starts to turn bright green and look a tiny bit soft, add lima beans. If you have tomatoes, add them too.
Meanwhile! Put a pot of pasta water on to boil.

Step Six! Broth time.

Step Six-point-five: Simmer everything together. Again, use the zucchini as your tester. When it starts looking soft or "done," you're almost there.

Step Seven: Wait. The pasta boils, the veggies simmer.

Step Eight: Drain the pasta and add to the vegetable soup. Then, season!
Salt, oregano, pepper, whatever you like.

Step Nine: It's Minestrone!! Serve with grated cheese of your choice (or not).

Notes: The children did not like this, at least not until most of the ingredients were dosed in greater amounts of Progresso Chickarina soup. Or replaced completely with Progresso Chickarina soup. (They are not properly meatless, clearly.)

Questions: What are your minestrone secrets? Am I even close? Also, if you're not vegetarian all the time, do you do Meatless Mondays or meatless some days?

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