Hearty Minestrone Soup

Hearty Minestrone Soup
(makes 8-1.5 cup servings)
•1 tsp. olive oil
•1 medium onion
•3 medium carrots
•2 large stalks of celery
•1/2 pound bison, turkey, or vegetarian protein (optional)
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•1 red bell pepper
•1 medium zucchini
•2 cups kale (or spinach)
•1 can diced tomatoes
•1 quart of vegetable stock
•4 tbsp. tomato paste
•1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
•2 tsp. dried basil
•1 bayleaf
•salt and pepper to taste

Chop the onion, carrot, celery, and red pepper and set aside.  Slice the zucchini and thinly slice the kale, set aside.  Heat oil in large stockpot.  Add onion mixture and saute 5-7 minutes until translucent.  Add garlic and meat (if using). Stir constantly until crumbled.  Add tomato paste and basil and stir until incorporated into vegetables. Pour in stock, add tomatoes and bayleaf, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cook 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

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