BUDGET RECIPES: Minestrone

The beauty of this minestrone is that you can mix and match with whichever ingredients you have at home. Choose any veggies, beans, lentils and pasta. No canned tomatoes? No worries, just use water. Nutritious, filling and budget-friendly. See the video recipe below.


Serves 4


INGREDIENTS


1-2 tablespoons oil (for oil-free, saute in water or stock)

½ onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

6 cups hot water

3 cups tinned tomatoes, crushed

1-2 cups any canned beans, dried lentils/split peas

1 cup any dried pasta (for GF options, see note below*)

3-4 cups vegetables** roughly chopped 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste (optional) salt and pepper to taste


*For gluten free minestrone

Use GF pasta or omit pasta and add complex carbs such as potatoes, lentils, beans, rice, buckwheat.


**Suggested vegetables: Kale

Silverbeet

Spinach

Broccoli

Cauliflower Pumpkin Potato

Sweet potato

Cabbage Zucchini

Carrot


METHOD


Into a large pot, add the oil. Add the onion and saute over a low to medium heat and allow onion to soften. Stir through the garlic for 1 minute, being careful not to brown. Add a dash of water to prevent burning.


Add the carrot and saute for 2 minutes. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and water. If you don’t have any tomato, replace with water. This will be more like a broth. Stir through the tomato paste if using.


Turn up the heat to high and add whatever beans or lentils you are using. If you are using whole lentils*, this will take longer to cook, so add this first. If it is a split lentil, it will take a shorter time. Add the pasta. If you’re using spaghetti, break into smaller pieces.


*If you are cooking whole lentils, add the pasta 10 minutes after you’ve added the lentils so you don't overcook the pasta. If you are using dried instead of canned beans, pre-cook beans first.


Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often to prevent from sticking.


Once the pulses and pasta are cooked through, stir through your vegetables. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.


I used zucchini and Tuscan kale. These vegetables will take 2-3 minutes to cook. If you are using potato or sweet potato, add these earlier and then follow with your quicker-cooking vegetables a few minutes later.


Check the vegetables are cooked and turn off the heat. Add ½-1 teaspoon salt (adjust to your taste) and cracked black pepper.


If you like a bit of heat, add a dash of chilli or paprika .


If the minestrone becomes too thick as it cools, add more water for a thinner soup.



See the video recipe for even more tips!










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