Monday, 2 November 2015

It's Meatless Monday

For the purpose of informing newbies to this space, both The Husband and I are vegetarians. It isn't important to delve into the whys and wherefores of our lifestyle decision, it is just important to respect it. We promise not to judge what you eat if you all promise the same in return. Please don't send me comments and emails as to why this recipe or any other would be better with bacon or chicken.  We just don't care.

I am not a foodie at all. I don't get bent out of shape over food or its presentation. When I post food pictures it is mostly because I am stunned that I was able to make it look as good as the recipe demanded. I am, however, constantly on the lookout for unique, filling, simple, and nutritious vegetarian meals that will meet the eating requirements of both of us. Usually that involves finding anything WITHOUT eggplant. We both absolutely loathe eggplant, (a symbiosis that makes me love this man even more than I already do) and yet most lazy vegetarian meals feel the need to throw a little of the purple gourd into the mix. My veggie recipes do not include eggplant. If you want to add it...well that's your thing.

Today I offer you my take on a November favourite, Minestrone Soup. I love soup. It is a full meal in a bowl and the perfect comfort food for chilly late autumn evenings. Obviously it can be adapted for omnivores, so have at it. 

Minestrone Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, washed and chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 small leek, washed and chopped
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 28 oz can chopped plum tomatoes
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and diced
1 x 15.5 ounce can chick peas, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
Large handful curly kale, stalks removed, chopped
½ cup orzo pasta
a bunch of basil (optional)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (or more, if you like. I like a bit of heat) 
5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese; optional

Heat a large pot over a medium heat and add olive oil.  Add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, pepper, leek, oregano and bay leaf and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, stirring now and then, until the vegetables have softened.
Add the tomatoes, potato, chick peas and vegetable broth, then cover with a lid and bring everything slowly to the boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes, then check (with the tip of a paring knife) that the potato is soft and cooked through.
After that, add the kale and pasta, and cook for 10 more minutes, until the pasta is cooked. If the soup is too thick for you after cooking the pasta, thin it with a little more broth or water.
The basil is optional, but delicious. If you decide to use it, stir some chopped leaves into the soup. Finish by seasoning with a little salt and sriracha and sprinkle on Parmesan.


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