A Squared: In My Lunchbox This Week: White Bean Minestrone

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

In My Lunchbox This Week: White Bean Minestrone

Another cold week, another big batch of soup in my lunchbox.

After my pasta class a few weeks ago, I returned home with several boxes of homemade pasta including a handful of adorable little orecchiette. I was a little pasta dinner'd out so I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to turn this batch of pasta into something totally different. With as busy as the last few weeks have been, it was feeling like the perfect time to make a big batch of soup to freeze and make sure that I had a healthy homemade lunch to take to work every day.

This soup is super hearty, filled with tons of veggies, white beans, and pasta-- it's a meal in a bowl and is a perfect lunch, but would make for a great meatless dinner too. Simmering the herbs and Parmesan rind in this soup adds a great depth of flavor to this soup and the longer you let it cook, the better it tastes. So, if you have time to let it simmer away then do so. Bonus: it will make your kitchen smell amazing!

  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and diced
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 (14.5-oz.) cans low sodium diced tomatoes
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • 2 (14.5-oz.) cans low sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta *I used orecchiette. You could also use ditalini, orzo, mini shells, macaroni
  • 1-1/2 cups spinach, rough chopped

Heat olive oil over medium high heat a large soup pot. Add onions, bell pepper, celery, and carrots to the pot. Saute for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Stir in garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.

Pour in stock, tomatoes, and 3 cups of water. Add rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, cheese rind, and beans to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.* Add pasta and spinach to the pot and continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

Before serving, remove herb stems (most of the leaves will have fallen off into the soup by now), bay leaf, and cheese rind. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot.

*Alternative preparation: Before adding the past and spinach to the pot, scoop two cups of soup out of the pot and carefully pour into a food processor. Blend until smooth and stir back into the soup pot. Cook for a few minutes until the soup comes together, then continue with adding the pasta and spinach and follow the remaining instructions.

Looking for another great soup recipe? Try Tomato Basil & Orzo Soup or Cabot Cheddar Butternut Squash Soup.

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