Everyone left such wonderful comments on my potato soup, that I got in the mood for some more soup (imagine that!). I decided to experiment with minestrone.
I looked up the definition of minestrone - it's a vegetable soup whose common ingredients include beans, herbs, tomatoes, and a meat broth. I love minestrone because it's both filling and light. But, minestrone often doesn't love me because of the large amounts of beans that are often in it.
What to do?
My solution - take out the beans and use more "friendly" veggies. But then I was left with another problem. If you take out the beans, you are essentially taking out most of the protein.
My solution - add meat.
So here you have it - a beanless soup with added meat. It's still delicious, light, and filling. And, it can still technically be called minestrone because it is, at heart, a vegetable soup with herbs in a meat broth.
And who doesn't love that?
Our star vegetables are zucchini, potato, carrot, and celery. To make it easy, just grab two of each.
To prepare, peel and chop the potato and dice the celery and carrots. Set these aside - you'll use them in a minute.
Oh yeah, chop half an onion too. That's important.
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, cook 1 pound of ground meat (hamburger or ground turkey), 1/2 cup of chopped onion,and one clove of minced garlic until the meat is no longer pink. If there's any excess fat, drain it away.
To your cooked meat, add 6 cups of water, a 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes (undrained), 2 bouillon cubes (either beef or chicken, doesn't matter), 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and...you guessed it...those chopped veggies.
Bring everything to a boil. Once it's good and boiling, reduce heat and simmer until your carrots, celery, and potatoes are just tender. While they are boiling, chop up the zucchini. Once your veggies are tender, toss that zucchini in.
Along with the zucchini, toss in a handful of uncooked macaroni (about 1/2 cup).
Stir the zucchini and macaroni in, and let them simmer until tender (about 15 minutes). While that's happening, butter up some bread, pull out the wine, and set your table. Dinner will be fabulous.
If you don't believe me, take a closer look...
- 1 lb. lean ground meat (beef or turkey)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 6 cups water
- 28 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 bouillon cubes (beef or chicken)
- 2 t. Italian seasoning
- 3/4 t. salt
- 2 zucchini, chopped
- 1/2 cup uncooked macaroni
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, cook the meat, onion, and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the water, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, celery, bullion cubes, Italian seasoning, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are just tender. Add zucchini and macaroni; simmer for additional 15 minutes or until tender.
Nutrition (calculated with ground turkey): 197 cal, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 40mg cholesterol, 513mg sodium, 27g carbs, 4g fiber, 2g sugar, 13g protein, 52% vit. A, 26% vit. C, 6% calcium, 13% iron.