Are you vegetarian? Are you new to the place (USA)? Are you adventurous to try different cuisines? Are you surrounded by family/friends who's already living here for few years now? Then, you must be a raving fan of Olive Garden 's minestrone by now.. I bet!
After all, who could resist their hearty soup with freshly baked garlic bread sticks & garden salad on the side. Especially with their 'unlimited soup & salad' option, you can keep going bowls after bowls.. it is that good!
And, this is my humble attempt in recreating Olive Garden 's vegetarian classic. And, it was amazingly close to the original .. how couldn't it be, when my 'super-critic' husband gave a 9/10 for my version of the soup! Seasoned rightly with pepper & parmesan and perfectly warming for the cold evening, we went for seconds & thirds even with this home-made version.. how characteristic of minestrone!!
Incase you don't know, minestrone is a delicious & healthy soup of Italian origin, made with vegetables, pasta, lentils and cooked in a light vegetable broth.
Complexity - Simple
Prep time - 15 mins
Cook time - 1 hour
Serves - 3-4 cups
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Garlic - 3 pods (minced)
Tomato - 8 nos (about 2 cups, blanched & outer layer peeled, chopped)
Carrot - 1 no (chopped into 1 inch cubes)
Beans - 10 nos (about 1 cup, chopped into 1 inch bits)
Uncooked shell/elbow pasta - 1/2 cup (uncooked, or any type of small pasta)
Kidney beans / Rajma - 1 cup (soaked overnight & pressure cooked just until tender)
Vegetable broth - 4 cups (I used organic & low-sodium)
Water - 2 cups
Italian seasoning - 1 tsp (mix of oregano, basil, marjoram, sage & garlic, pre-packaged, store-bought)
Dried basil leaves - 1 tsp (can be substituted with fresh basil leaves)
Pepper - 1 tsp (adjust to your taste)
Salt - 1.5 tsp (adjust to your taste)
Spinach leaves - 1 cup (packed, de-stemmed)
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a deep saucepan. Add chopped onion & garlic and saute for 5 - 7 mins until onions are browned. Add carrots, beans, tomatoes, vegetable broth, water, italian seasoning, dried basil leaves, salt & pepper and bring it to a boil.
Reduce heat, and let it simmer for 20 mins. Then, add cooked kidney beans, uncooked pasta, spinach and let it simmer for another 15 mins or until pasta is tender & cooked.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese & pepper on top and serve hot!
- There are no limitations on the vegetables. You can add as many vegetables of your choice.
Linking it to the event 'Healthy food for healthy kids - Italian' hosted by Nivedhanams and Nithu's kitchen.