It's May 29. The high today is just 8*C. It's raining, it's dreary, and it's dismal. The perfect day for a big crockpot full of hearty soup!
This recipe is easily converted to meatless- simply omit the ground beef and beef stock- substitute with olive oil (for sautéing) and vegetable stock. You can opt for vegan as well, by leaving out the fresh parmesan. Because minestrone is such a "laissez faire" dish, there are many variations. This one is a Meals Maven exclusive.
Approx. 1 lb lean ground beef
1 yellow onion
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
2 small zucchinis, sliced into coins and then quartered
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 small potato, diced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 c. canned diced tomatoes
1/2 c. small pasta
1 tbsp dried sweet basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
900mL container of lower-sodium beef stock or homemade
4 c. of water
1 can drained and rinsed white kidney beans
4 large handfuls of baby spinach
Fresh parmesan, for garnish.
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish.
This meal begins on a stovetop. It's easy to prep ahead by pre-chopping all your veges except the potato the night before, if you need a head start in the morning. Start with onions and beef. Brown them together at medium-high heat in a large skillet. Stir, breaking up the beef, until the meat is browned. Drain whatever grease has accumulated by spooning it into a large can- never drain it down the sink!
Next, add all the rest of the vegetables except the spinach, and sauté until they are softened. Add the spices and chia, and mix well.
At this point, you can continue on the stovetop, by transferring to a big soup pot, or dump into a slow cooker, which is what I did,
Add the soup stock, water, and pasta. Turn the slow cooker on high and ignore it for a couple of hours, or bring your soup pot to a boil. When the carrots and potatoes are fork-tender, and the pasta cooked, turn off the heat and add your beans and spinach.
Serve garnished, if desired.
Verdict: First son said "great." Second son said "I like it". Husband said "It was really good but a little watery". I thought it was delicious.
Many-hatted wife and mom: cook, chauffeur, planner, payer-of-bills, and buyer-of-groceries, among others.