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.
- Put the quinoa into a bowl, cover with water and allow to soak 30 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 1 cup quinoa
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, set aside extra to drizzle over the finished soup
- 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 canned diced tomatoes, such as Muir Glen)
- 2 bay leaves, fresh if possible
- 8 cups 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