minestrone soup with sesame parmesan (vegan, dairy free, soy free)
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With fall officially peeking around the corner and an early chill in the air – at least around here – I’m starting to crave warm, comforting foods. Especially big pots of them for plenty of leftovers which matches with our busier back-to-school schedule. Like this minestrone soup.
I first came across this minestrone soup recipe in this cook book while I was trying to find more veggie-based recipes but before I went all in with a plant-based diet. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since.
One of the things I love about it is the subtle addition of zucchini. This is key when your garden produces monster-sized ones because you forgot to pick it (ahem). And when you are more of a zucchini liker than zucchini lovers. And in case you didn’t catch it, here’s a zucchini recipe I shared last week. The other thing I love is the use of rosemary – an herb I thought was a strange addition at first, but it definitely makes this soup sing.
I’ll warn you that although this minestrone soup is more labor intensive than many of my other soup recipes (like this one and this one), it’s completely worth it because of the quantity it makes and how well it freezes. If you have children who are able to handle a knife, have them help you with the chopping. Even a young child could help break the frozen green beans or help with the lettuce spinner for the spinach.
The original recipe called for using parmesan cheese. Since this wouldn’t fly for a vegan recipe, I whipped up some sesame seed parmesan which can be sprinkled on or stirred in (which also happens to boost the calcium and protein as well!). For those of you watching your fat intake (especially due to heart disease), you’ll be happy to know the soup is made without any oil and you can skip adding the parmesan altogether.
This soup tastes even better the second day because the flavors are able to develop. If it works, plan ahead and make it the day before you actually plan to eat it!
This soup is chock full of vegetables and herbs and tastes even better the second day after it's been made. The sesame seed parm is a nod to the traditional recipe and boosts the calcium and plant-protein and is just plain fun to sprinkle on.
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups coarsely chopped carrots
- 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups finely diced tomatoes (or 1-14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 4.5 cups water
- 2 small zucchini, shredded
- 1 cup green beans in 1" lengths
- 2 medium potatoes, diced
- 3 cups coarsely chopped spinach
- 2 cups beans (white or kidney)
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp freshly chopped basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp crumbled rosemary
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 4 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
Add the onion and garlic along with 1" water to a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Cook until the onion is translucent, then add in the carrots, celery and tomatoes. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Add all remaining soup ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45-minutes to 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender. Adjust seasonings as needed.
Add all ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender and mix until thoroughly combined and the sesame seeds are crumbly and look like parmesan cheese. Can be stored in an air-tight jar in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
I prefer this soup with the vegetables (especially the tomatoes and zucchini) finely chopped - or in the case of the zucchini, shredded. This especially helps when serving it to children who tend to be suspicious of large chunks of vegetables - or adults who feel the same way. 😉
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- Click here for my favorite mini food processor
- I get both my nutritional yeast and sesame seeds in bulk at Whole Foods, but you also can find them here and here.