If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on quite the soup kick lately. I think a lot of it has attributed to the fact it is pretty cold to San Francisco standards these days. Another factor may be that as a career woman, it has been incredibly hard to find time to cook elaborate meals regularly, so I’ve been looking for simple, healthy, and quick recipes that can fill me up for dinner, and I can take with me the next day to work.
Once again, I located this amazing recipe in Bob Warden’s cookbook- Great Food Fast (Best of the Best Presents) Bob Warden’s Ultimate Pressure Cooker Recipes and used my favorite kitchen weapon- the Breville Fast Slow Pro Pressure and Slow Cooker which I talk a little about here. Understanding that a lot of folks do not own a pressure cooker (which essentially does the same thing to food that a slower cooker does, but in significantly less time), I also included a version of the recipe to make this soup in a slow cooker to set and forget while at work.
In order to keep the soup as healthy as possible, I used gluten free brown rice pasta and locally sourced organic veggies from the Fort Mason Center Farmer’s Market. Don’t forget to:
1.) Support your local farmers.
2.) Stick to clean eating– the less chemicals, the better.
Also- I have anemia and need to constantly increase my iron intake. From all the spinach in the soup, you get 7.1% of your daily iron intake!
After, I added in all the ingredients except the kidney beans and set the pressure cooker to the Soup setting. If you are making this with a slow cooker, leave out the zucchini, beans, and pasta to avoid them becoming too mushy and set your slow cooker LOW for 6-8 hours or 3-4 hours on HIGH.
Just a heads up– the aroma of the minestrone soup cooking is absolutely intoxicating in the best way. My neighbor across the hall (our kitchen doors face each other outside our back doors) even came over to try some after she smelled the soup.
This soup turned out amazing. It was not only full of flavor, but it was incredibly hearty and took the place of an entire meal. My carb intake was high, but I am OK with that since the source is mostly from all the veggies.
Healthy and Hearty Minestrone Soup
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 Carrots, coarsely chopped
2 Zucchini, cut into thick half-moons
3 Cups Fresh Spinach Leaves
4 Cups Vegetable Stock or Broth
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (28oz)
¾ Cup Shell Shaped Pasta (I substituted with Gluten Free Rice Pasta Shells)
3 Tbsp Tomato Paste2 Bay Leaves
1 Tsp Italian Seasoning
½ Tsp Salt
¼ Tsp Pepper
1 Can Kidney Beans (14.5oz) drained and rinsed
- With the cooker’s lid off, heat oil on HIGH or “brown,” until sizzling
- Place the onion in the cooker, and saute until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes.
- Add carrots and celery, and saute 1 minutes
Pressure cooker recipe continued:
- Add remaining ingredients, except for kidney beans. Securely lock the pressure cooker’s lid and set for 6 minutes on HIGH
- Perform a quick release to release the cooker’s pressure.
- Stir in kidney beans.
Slow cooker recipe continued:
- Add remaining ingredients, except for kidney beans, pasta, and zucchini, and set your slow cooker LOW for 6-8 hours or 3-4 hours on HIGH
- Stir in kidney beans, pasta, and zucchini for an additional 10-15 minutes until pasta is tender.