This soup will impress so much, they won’t wonder why there isn’t any meat or pasta.

I always forget what this recipe looks and tastes like when it comes up in the queue and then I dance in my head when it comes together. I’ve made minestrone in the past, but have never liked it all that much, probably because of the awkward, heavy confrontation between beans and pasta. This recipe I found is still super hearty, replacing the pasta with quinoa, green instead of other beans, and kale for spinach. — BUT it tastes and feels SO much healthier. There are a lot more ingredients than I like to use in one recipe (10 is usually the average) but as this one can serve a family twice or this petite vegan for dinner for about a week, the effort’s worth it. Prep ahead of time, and the initial cooking phase passes super quickly while you put your feet up (or clean up) during the 40 minutes of stew time.

My grocery store was all out of zucchini, so I subbed broccoli for it (in the photo), and it was still pretty awesome.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp oil
1 onion (yellow)
2 diced carrots
2 small diced zucchini
*Optional: 2 c green beans, cut to 1″
1 diced red pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1L unsalted or low sodium vegetable broth
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3 1/2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp rosemary
3/4 tsp thyme, dried
1 tsp sweetener of choice (I use cane sugar)
1 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
3/4 c quinoa, uncooked
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice

In a large stockpot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add zucchini, green beans (if using), red pepper, and sauté for two more minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute longer. Add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, parsley, rosemary, thyme, sweetener, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce to medium heat and allow the soup to boil uncovered for 20 minutes. Add the quinoa and cook (covered) for 20 more minutes. Add the kale and lemon juice before serving. Serve with your choice of vegan cheez, if desired. Serves 5-6.

*I like to use frozen green beans and skip the chopping altogether.

Tip: The original recipe for this called for 2 diced celery stalks, which I’m sensitive to, so if you’d like to use that, cook it with the onion and carrots.

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