Italian Minestrone Soup

 

This hearty minestrone is easy to make and totally worth the effort.
The recipe calls for seasonal vegetables and affordable pantry ingredients you can find in any local grocery store, making it budget friendly. Like an Italian minestrone soup, this recipe is loaded with vegetables, beans, spinach and ditalini pasta. The soup packs great for lunch, and tastes even better the next day. You can make this dish dairy free, gluten-free and vegan friendly. Just see the following  Cook’s Notes.  This recipe calls for about 24 servings, so just know that it also freezes and defrosts well too. It is extra nice to have on hand in the freezer on during those days when you feel like being a lazy cook in the kitchen, especially during the winter months.

Serves 24

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 cup of small diced pancetta bacon
2 peeled and small diced yellow onions
4 finely minced cloves of garlic
2 thinly sliced leeks, optional
4 medium diced stalks of celery
4 peeled and sliced carrots
1 peeled and medium diced turnip
1 peeled and medium diced parsnip
½ small diced bulb of fennel core removed, optional
3 peeled and large diced russet potatoes
Three 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes in juice
Three 15-ounce cans of drained cannellini beans
128 ounces of chicken stock
3 parmesan cheese rinds (See Cook’s Notes)
2 cups of frozen peas
2 cups baby spinach, chopped kale or chopped collard greens
juice of 1 lemon
2 pounds of cooked and cooled ditalini pasta (See Cook’s Notes)
Salt, to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese and fresh oregano and rosemary sprigs, for garnish

 

Directions:
In a very large pot or stockpot over medium heat add in the pancetta and cook until browned and crispy. Set aside the pancetta lardons.

Add in the onions, garlic, leeks, celery, carrots, turnip, parsnips and fennel to the pot and sauté for 10 to 12 minutes.

Add in the potatoes, tomatoes, beans, stock and cheese rinds and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add the peas, spinach, lemon juice, cooked pancetta, salt, and pepper.

To serve, ladle into bowl and garnish with parmesan, oregano and rosemary, if desired.

 

Cook’s Notes:
Minestrone soup is subject to change based on what you have and what’s in season. This minestrone soup recipe may look completely different in the summer since things like zucchini, yellow squash and squash peak in are that season. For the Spring, you might want to use peas, green beans and leeks for the soup. As for autumn seasonal vegetables, potatoes turnips, butternut squash, also work for this recipe. Basically, whatever vegetables you have on hand will work in this recipe. Left over vegetables will also work in a pinch too.

Grains or Pasta: Italian minestrone soup can also use things like farro or cous cous as the grain or pasta in the soup, such as orecchiette, elbow or small shell pasta. To make this soup gluten free, you can also substitute your favorite sturdy gluten-free noodle, such as DeLallo’s Whole-Grain Rice Shells.

Parmesan Cheese: The Parmesan cheese rind is not a necessity, but it will add some delicious umami flavors to the soup. You can add grated Parmesan to the soup as a substitute, or shredded Parmesan can be added as a garnish.

However, if you want to make the soup dairy free and vegan friendly, do not use Parmesan cheese or the pancetta. Most Parmesans are not technically vegetarian because they contain animal rennet. As a reliable substitute, Whole Foods 365 and Bel Gioioso brands do offer vegetarian Parmesan cheese, and both will work really well in this recipe.

How to Reheat: To reheat the minestrone soup simply add your desired portion to a small sauce pot and heat over low heat until hot. You can also simply add your desired portion to microwave safe bowl and heat for 2:30 stirring after 1:15.

How to Store: Minestrone soup will hold well in the refrigerator covered up for up to 5 days. It will also freeze well covered for up to 3 months. Simply pull it out as you need it and reheat following the directions above.

Trying Something NEW!

Recommended Products

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Aozita Porcelain Cappuccino Cups

Lipper International Acacia Tree Bark Cheese Board

Ditalini Pasta

 

 

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Roasted Golden Beet & Yellow Tomato Pizza

IMG_2641 Pizza

Pizza Arrosto Di Barbabietola Dorata e Pomodoro Giallo is what this pizza is called in Italian….

I was looking for something different in terms of making a healthy pizza. I had an abundance of golden beets. So I roasted them and made pizza dough that was topped off with red onions onions, lots of roasted golden beets, a little fresh mozzarella and a little bit of crumbled goat cheese. A little salt and a little honey added the sweet and savory taste that made this almost vegan pizza, Oh so good! And of course a glass of Chardonnay went perfectly with this pizza. A glass a wine is optional, but I highly recommend it!

And if you know someone who doesn’t like beets, this pizza might convert them.

Makes One 10-inch Pizza, Serving 8

Ingredients:

One 4-ounce golden beet
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound Basic Pizza Dough
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon honey
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Fresh snipped chives, for garnish

Special Equipment:
Parchment Paper
Pizza Stone

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Leave root and 1 inch of stem on beet; scrub with a brush. Wrap beet in parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 450°F for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven; cool. Trim off beet root; peel off skin. Cut beet in half crosswise; thinly slice halves.

Position an oven rack in the lowest setting. Place a pizza stone on lowest rack. Increase oven temperature to 500°F.

Preheat pizza stone 30 minutes before baking pizza.

Gently brush oil over Basic Pizza Dough. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of the dough, followed by beet slices,red onion and yellow tomatoes, evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Slide dough onto preheated pizza stone, using a spatula as a guide. Bake at  500° F  for 8 minutes or until crust is golden.

Remove from pizza stone. Sprinkle with salt  and drizzle with honey. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and snipped chives.

Cut into 8 wedges and serve.

Cook’s Notes:
If you can substitute shallots for the red onion, if desired. A commercially prepared pizza crust also works in a pinch when there is not enough t time to make the pizza dough.

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Product Review: Verve Culture Green Curry Thai for Two

Hello There Loyal Fans and Followers!

I have something I want to share with you, but first of all,Full Disclosure…..
By no means  do I receive any compensation or product endorsement from any company, but I am always happy to find extremely  the excellent products in which I think most people could benefit from.

One of this such finds is Thai for Two Curry Kits from Verve Culture.

Verve Culture is a women-run business spanning three generational groups from Baby Boomer, Gen X, to Millennial. We are in constant pursuit of life travelled fully. As founders,a mother and daughter team and have worked together for 25 years in the gift industry. After becoming disillusioned with the mass produced products prevalent in the marketplace, we started to seek products that were more unique and have actual heart and soul.

Verve Culture’s concept is about Culture Exploration and is not product specific. They curate iconic items that are made in the country of origin using traditional practices.  They also work with a team of amazing artisans and craftsmen from around the world that are proud to share their stories of heritage and passion.

They are committed to offering an inside view of how certain tools and tastes can create memorable experiences with friends and family. Beautiful, purposeful, authentic and respectful of the people who make the items, is at the heart of Verve Culture’s  philosophy. Each of  their kitchen, homeware and gourmet food products comes with the story of where it is made, by whom, and the history of the item.  Verve Culture believe that exposure to new cultures and experiences brings joy.

And with that being said, I was intrigued to try some of their epicurean food offerings.  Earlier this year, they were offering a special deal on buying four meal kits  and receiving one for free, with free shipping. Given the COVID-19 Pandemic and I was missing the entrees and soups from my favorite Thai restaurant, I took a chance to see what these products were all about. In the past, I have tried meal kit services like Plated, Home Chef, and Blue Apron with mixed success.

So I decided to try the Green Curry , which is is one of the most recognizable and iconic dishes from Thailand. It is both gently soothing and packed with flavor.  Verve Culture  work with an organic farm in Thailand to give the consumer  authentic green curry ingredients that are hard to get – seasonings and herbs, like kaffir lime leaves and Thai green chile peppers  that makes the meal deliciously, authentically Thai. This kit is unbelievably easy to make.  Along with the pre-packaged items in the kit, you can add your own protein and vegetables, follow the easy directions, and in less than ten minutes you’ll have your first bite. ……..and it is a delicious one, leaving you wanting more.

The Thai Green Curry Meal Kit includes:

  • Instructions
  • Organic dried herbs
  • Organic green curry seasoning
  • Organic green curry paste
  • Organic coconut milk

Straight from the source
Verve Culture worked with a USDA-certified organic farm in Thailand that yields fresh, pure produce like kaffir lime leaf, galangal, and lemongrass. This farm uses renewable resources and conserves the fertility of their soil and water to preserve the environmental quality for future generations.

Everyone-friendly
These Thai kits are organic, vegan, gluten-free, and sustainably-made. They’re easy, convenient, and healthy – and not to mention gift-worthy thanks to the beautiful drawstring bag! Perfect for date night or a hostess gift at your next dinner party.

You’ll have date nights and family nights covered with our Thai cooking kits. Check out the rest of them here.

Meet the Farmers
Verve Culture partnered with Somkiat and Pornpan – a couple who met in university studying Food Engineering. Their family is dedicated to sharing the true taste of Thailand from their organic farm, and only use pure ingredients without fillers. Learn more about them here.

Ingredients: Ingredients:
Organic Coconut Milk, Organic Sugar, Organic Green Chili,  Salt, Organic Rice Bran Oil, Organic Garlic, Organic Shallot, Organic Galangal, Organic Lemongrass, Organic Coriander Leaves, Organic Dried Sweet Basil Leaves, Organic Kaffir Lime Rind, Organic Dried Kaffir Lime Leaves, Organic Dried Sliced Chili, Acidity Regulators (Citric Acid (INS330)).
* Contains Coconut
* Manufactured in a facility that uses peanut ingredients.

Thai Green Curry is known for its spicy, tangy and pungent flavor, enriched with the fresh taste of coconut milk and kaffir limes leaves. 

Here is my offering of the meal kit. I opted to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs as my protein. Broccoli, green beans, and julienned carrots along with a few fresh serrano chilies and mini red bell peppers were my vegetables of choice.

Basically, everything in Verve Culture’s Thai for Two Organic Green Curry cooking kit comply with global standards for organic certified ingredients.

6 EAST STEPS FOR AUTHENTIC GREEN CURRY

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a wok or saucepan over medium heat and fry Organic Green Curry Paste for 1 minute to release the aroma. Use less paste to make the final dish less spicy.
  2. Add the Organic Coconut Milk and stir until the oil starts separating on the surface.
  3. Add 1 1/4 (150 ml) water. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add Organic Green Curry Seasoning. Mix well for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add your desired meat or protein and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add desired vegetables. Stir the mixture for another 2-3 minutes until cooked.
  6. Add Organic Dried Herbs, and mix well together.

Serve with jasmine rice, and enjoy!

Simple Green Curry combination suggestions:

  • Chicken, broccoli and green beans
  • Chicken, asparagus, broccoli and spring onions
  • Shrimp, zucchini and sugar snap peas
  • Tofu, green beans, broccoli and green peppers
  • Tofu, asparagus and green beans

For the more adventurous palate…

    • Thai eggplant is round, green, and found in most Asian markets. Occasionally you will also find Pea Eggplant there too. When cooked, both of these eggplants become softer and absorb the flavor of the sauce.
      thai-eggplant pea-eggplant
    • Bok Choy and Chinese Broccoli are traditional and nutrient dense vegetable additions to Thai curry, and are available in most supermarkets
      bok-choy        chinese-broccoli

The best thing about Verve Culture’s  Thai for Two cooking kits is that you can customize them in countless ways. Use all the vegetables that are in the fridge. Take advantage of that great deal on pork at the supermarket. Use tofu or seitan on meatless Monday. The possibilities are endless, and totally up to you!

To be perfectly honest, this was one of the best meal kits I ever had. It was so easy to make that any home cook on any level from beginner to completely experienced, will find it a pleasure. It is also great for kids who are just learning to cook as well.

The basic kit cost $12.00 each, which comes down to $6.00 per serving. A few other kits cost about $15.00. This price range is reasonable for most home cook’s budgets. It is also the perfect meal kit to use in family activity in teaching kids how to cook a simple meal.

The packaging provides for shelf stable products. The coconut milk is vacuumed sealed in a pouch as wells as the other ingredients like the green curry paste, the dried herbs and seasonings are also packaged separately and labeled for you convenience.

On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the rating that is the best ever, this meal kit is a 5, ten times over. It was really that good. Authentic Thai to a tee……

Just so, you know, that in the  past two months, these kits have become very popular.

So , just a note, go to the Verve Culture website and pre-order today! This flavor is currently sold out and will be back in stock in limited quantities in late September. Order today to reserve your Green Curry Cooking Kits. Be sure to check out our other flavors which are still available (but selling fast!).

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank You!