Last month, my dear friend Lisa came to visit. Lisa and I grew up together in St. Louis. We have been friends for a very long time.
Lisa and gluten don’t get along very well, so one night I was going to make minestrone, and I told her I would make it with rice noodles, or even rice. She suggested I just leave out the starch altogether. What an idea! I had been looking around the internet for an easy recipe for minestrone, and found this one. I was going for something quick and easy that I could make with what I had on hand. And this fit the bill.
Why am I writing about a soup that is so simple? I mean, everyone knows how to make soup, right? Well, I was so happy that the soup came out nicely without the noodles. In fact, I discovered that I like the soup better without the noodles. The soup is rich and delicious as is, and no worries about gluten, if that is an issue for you. And I just really like this soup. There are a few things that I did that made it extra yummy. Like using San Marzano tomatoes. The flavor is so very good. I was out of regular cans of diced tomatoes, and I had some leftover San Marzano tomatoes that I just crushed up a bit with my hands and put into the soup. And another addition is the crust from parmigiano cheese. We keep the cheese on hand for grating on pasta, and always end up with the edges. Save those! Throw them into your soups as they simmer! I leave the cheese edge in the soup pot when serving so that nobody ends up with a chewy piece of cheese in their bowl… I save that for me… shhhhhhh… it’s so good ;-).
Also, the original recipe calls for simmering for about a half hour once all the ingredients have been added. I like simmering my soups for longer so the flavors intensify and the broth thickens. This soup is comforting on a chilly day, and it is so easy to whip up. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Vegetable Cannelini Bean Soup
(adapted from Maria Lichty’s recipe)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 zucchini diced
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup diced tomatoes (San Marzano if possible)
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 (14 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- crust (or small piece) of parmigiano cheese*
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil on medium heat in a heavy bottomed soup pot or dutch oven.
- Saute onion, carrots, and celery until softened – about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in all the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for half an hour or longer. Longer = better flavor and thicker soup. (If simmering for longer, make sure it is a very slow simmer.)
- Serve with crusty bread and salad for an easy and delicious meal!
*Note – For a vegan soup, leave out the parmigiano cheese and substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth.