Hello Everyone! Week 2 of cooking with quinoa is here and I’ve got a classic recipe with a twist. For those of you who don’t know, minestrone soup is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables that range from, but are not limited to, beans, onions, celery, carrots, and tomatoes. Often, rice or pasta is added to the soup to bulk it up with some carbs. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian, contain meat, or contain a meat-based broth.
I’ve made this soup a couple of times before in the past, and is featured in the Mediterranean section of my blog – but today, I’m going to add a little twist to a traditional minestrone soup. I’m switching out the pasta that I would normally add to my soup, with quinoa. Using quinoa in place of pasta adds extra protein and makes this soup gluten free! In addition to using quinoa for this soup, I’m topping it off with some kale pesto as well to give the dish a touch of freshness – and of course, if you have any extra leftover, you can totally whip up another dish just by mixing it through some freshly cooked pasta! Top it of with some grilled chicken or seared tiger prawns for a complete lunch or dinner. The original recipe for this dish can be found over on Taste Australia.
PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4
For the soup
- 1 can (400g) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (410g) Italian chopped tomatoes
- 150g bacon, diced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/3 cup tri-coloured quinoa, rinsed
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 celery stick, sliced
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 large brown onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into small chunks
For the kale pesto
- 2 & 1/2 cups kale leaves, shredded
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1 small garlic clove, halved
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp water
- For the Soup: Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the bacon bits and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- Turn the heat up to high and then add in the garlic. Sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about a minute or so. Then add in the onions and cooking, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes.
- Add in the carrot and celery, together with the bay leaf, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until soft.
- Next, add in the chicken stock and canned chopped tomatoes to the pot. Bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat down to medium-low and then stir in the quinoa. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Stir in zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, and then add in the cannellini beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until the quinoa and zucchini are tender. Season with a touch of ground salt and pepper.
- For the Kale Pesto: Add the kale leaves, parmesan cheese, and garlic into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Combine the juice, oil, and water in a jug, and slowly stream the juice mixture into the kale mixture until well combined. Season.
- Divide soup among four equal bowls and top with the kale pesto and extra parmesan if you wish.
- Serve and enjoy!
– Ally xx