Vegetarian Minestrone with Whole Wheat Baguette

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

For the last two days, my family as been scattered, moving at light speed in different directions.  My busier than normal schedule the past two nights hasn’t helped. We needed to re-center ourselves as a family, and dinner, including dinner prep was my way to get this done.

Consistent with my goal of serving one vegetarian meal a week, tonight’s meal was Vegetarian Minestrone. Because it is a crock pot recipe I was able to prepare the soup earlier in the day.  I got all the ingredients in the crock pot and turned it on at 2:45 so it was ready around 6:00. As I learned from Simple Gourmet Chef Melanie Barsuk, crock pot recipes can “cook out” and lose their flavor.  This is a simple soup with simple flavors.  Don’t over cook it…

As my kids came home from school, I slowed things down.  Dinner prep was done.  I wouldn’t be doing any work related to dinner until I ladled the soup and sliced the baguette.  How nice! My kids and I talked, they got a snack and got their homework done. Not that the day was without a carpool, or even a bit of sassiness from the kids, but things felt calmer.  I wasn’t pre-occupied with “getting everything ready” so I could leave…

Dinner was ready for us at 6. Warm soup and bread is one of my favorite comfort dinners, and I think we all needed a bit of comfort and warmth tonight.

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

Recipe

Vegetarian Minestrone with Whole Wheat Baguette

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids + 2 lunches

Ingredients

4 Cups (32 oz.) Vegetable Broth

1 large onion, diced

3 Carrots, diced

3 Celery Stalks, diced

3 Garlic Cloves, minced

28 oz can, or shelf stable container of Chopped Tomatoes, low or no sodium

2 small Zucchini, diced

½ Cup Barley, dry

1 Cup Kale, finely chopped

1 15 oz can White Beans, low or no sodium, rinsed

1 T Parsley, fresh minced

1 t Dried Thyme

1 t Dried Oregano

2 Bay Leaves

½ t Kosher salt or sea salt

1/8 t pepper

2 t Lemon Zest

Parmesan or Manchenga cheese (optional)

Whole wheat baguette or other whole wheat bread

Options:

Purchase pre diced onions, carrots, celery – approximate the amounts required.

If using a garlic press, toss the garlic membranes in the soup too for extra flavor.

Instructions:

  1. Put everything except the cheese in a crock pot.  Add the spices and seasonings (including lemon zest) last.
  2. Cook on low for 3 hours.
  3. Serve with grated cheese on top and whole wheat bread.

Pre-Prep Opportunity

  1. Dice onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, and kale ahead of time and store in refrigerator.
  2. Rinse beans ahead of time and store in fridge.
  3. Zest lemon ahead of time and store in fridge.
  4. Make the soup the evening before.  Put it on at dinner time. After 3 hours store in fridge.  Simply warm in a pot the next day and serve!

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