“Veggiestrone” Soup

As the weather cools down (I can’t wait for 60-degree-and-sunny days), I thought it might be a good idea to start putting together some fall-weather foods…like soup. So much soup.I LOVE some minestrone soup and, originally, I was going to apologize for messing with it (i.e. “Minestrone soup MUST have beans and noodles!”). However! Apparently, that is not the case, as traditional minestrone is made with vegetables, any vegetables, that are in season, usually including carrots, celery, tomatoes, and stock of some kind. Awesome! I’ve decided to call this “Veggiestrone”, because it’s literally all vegetables plus chicken stock (Technically, the tomatoes, zucchini, and red peppers are fruit but… we won’t be getting into the whole botanical vs. culinary definitions here.)

If you chop the veggies ahead of time, this recipe is relatively quick (20-30 minutes or so of total cook time), and feeds a whole lot of people: 4-6 depending on how hungry they are! It’s also an excellent way to use up a whole mess of whatever you have lying around in your refrigerator (so please feel free to mess with the recipe as much as you like).

“Veggiestrone” Soup

Ingredients
*These are what I happened to have laying around, and also what I’ve used to make this dish in the past. I’m sure you could many other veggies to the mix (potatoes immediately come to mind), but the starred items in the ingredient list below are what give this soup its signature “minestrone” flavor. Enjoy!

2.5 cups celery, diced
3 cups carrots, peeled and diced
2 cups yellow onion, diced*
2 cups zucchini, diced
1 cup roasted red bell peppers, diced (I used jarred)*
2.5 cups diced tomatoes (I used Hunt’s, canned)*
4 cloves garlic, minced*
2 tbsp olive oil*
1.5 tsp oregano*
1 tsp basil
0.5 tsp salt (skip if using full-sodium chicken stock)
3 cups low-sodium chicken stockI usually like to prep (dice) my vegetables ahead of time and keep a huge tupperware of them in the fridge. This will definitely speed up the process, since preparing the veggies is the most time consuming part of this dish.Step 1. Gather your ingredients and prep your vegetables.

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Step 2. Place olive oil and garlic in a large pot (I love, love my enameled dutch oven for this recipe) over medium-high heat and saute until the garlic is fragrant and lightly browned.
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Step 3. Add in the “tough” veggies (everything except for the zucchini, because it will cook more quickly– we don’t want it to get soggy), and toss to coat with the oil. Saute until the onions are translucent and the carrots have begun to soften slightly (covering with the lid of the pot will help with this). This step should take about 5-6 minutes.
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Step 4. Add in the red bell peppers and zucchini, and stir in. Let the flavors meld for a minute or two.
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Step 5. Add in the tomatoes, stir, and then add in the spices.
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Step 6. Stir and allow the flavors to blend while simmering for another 2-3 minutes. Then, add in the chicken stock.
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If you’re more of a watch-and-learn kind of person, here’s an animation, just for you! (Click the image to view.)
veggiestrone GIF

Step 7. Simmer on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, and serve hot! Imagine coming home to this for dinner on a chilly fall day:
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Enjoy!- Kaitlin
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