This Quick Quinoa Minestrone recipe makes about one gallon, so it’s an easy meal in a bowl for 6 or more. If you are cooking for less than 6 people, you may want to cut the recipe in half, or make the gallon and have leftovers for a few days.
The base of the soup includes pancetta, Italian bacon, which is very lean. Feel free to leave it out if you prefer a vegetarian soup. Or, in step 2, replace it with a tablespoon of a chopped ‘woody’ herb like thyme, savory or rosemary.
1. Put the quinoa into a bowl, cover with water and allow to soak 30 minutes.
2. Heat ¼ cup oil with the pancetta in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4 minutes to render the pancetta. Add the onion, leeks, celery, carrot and fennel, season with salt and pepper and cook, until tender, for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the quinoa and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 3 cups broth, bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. When ready to serve, add the remaining broth, bring to a boil and then add the green vegetables. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, for about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, stir in the herbs and serve immediately in warm bowls. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated parmesan cheese.
–Recipe from Jody Adams’ Rialto Restaurant, Cambridge MA.
For more information on ingredients in this recipe, see our articles on quinoa, fennel, and tomatoes.< /p>
- 1 cup quinoa
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, set aside extra to drizzle over the finished soup
- ¼ pound pancetta sliced ¼ inch, chopped into ¼ inch dice (optional)
- 1 cup onion, cut into ¼ inch dice
- 1 cup leeks, white part only, sliced ¼ inch and washed well
- 1 cup celery, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
- 1 cup carrot, cut into ¼ inch dice
- 1 cup fennel, cut into ¼ inch dice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1½ pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice (or organic canned diced tomatoes, such as Muir Glen)
- 2 bay leaves, fresh if possible
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 pound green spring vegetables, such as (and you can use frozen):
Asparagus, peeled and cut ½ inch thick on the bias
Tender green beans, cut ½ inch thick on the bias
Fava beans, shelled (frozen lima beans do the job)
Peas, shelled (frozen will do the job)
Zucchini diced ½ inch
Spinach, or other tender greens, chopped
- 1 cup chopped mixed herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, and mint
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese