In the midst of my post-Sunday Farmers Market food prep session, which also happened to be a rainy afternoon, Alex steps into the kitchen with a defeated and exhausted look on his face and declared that he was in dire need of a mid-day nap. I quickly needed to come up with a plan to do something fun with Nova but wanted to also keep food prepping as I was almost done and greatly enjoying the peaceful time spent in the kitchen.
Knowing that Nova loves to help mommy in the kitchen I quickly gave him a job of assisting me chop garlic and carrots as well as pulling peas from their pods. There were moments of silence as we both meditatively worked on the food prep, moments of pure bliss in my heart and mind where words did not need to be exchanged and a feeling that this is the only place to be right now as we sit snuggled closely on the kitchen floor with a bag of snap peas and a slowly filled bowl.
Nova’s query for when his dada would wake up was growing stronger as we finished prepping so I proposed we make a soup to help daddy feel better. Secretly, I was hoping that the wafting smell of herbs and veggies would pull him energetically out of bed just at the moment I’d like to have a helping hand with our very active and playful toddler again.
Nova got really excited to make a soup for daddy, he pulled his step-stool over to the stove and began watching me add everything from our farmers market haul to the pot. He then proceeded to run to the locked bedroom door to bang on it while yelling “daddy we’re making you a soup” over and over again, apparently, he too was trying to entice a wake up with the soup. To no avail, Nova then came running into the kitchen saying “mama, daddy didn’t answer me” to which I replied, “that’s because he’s sleeping,Darling.” “Let’s finish making this soup and then he’ll likely wake up”.
I still have memories when I was a little girl watching my mother making soup in a very large pot which felt like a weekly occurrence. I imagine Nova will likely remember these moments and look fondly upon them or at least develop a deep love for soups like I have. Minestrone was amongst my favorites that my mama would make. When I set out to make a soup for Alex I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but one glance at all of the prepped veggies and a look in my cupboard quickly sparked my childhood memories and the idea for a savory and hearty bowl of minestrone.
As predicted the soup served as a wonderful alarm clock, Alex arose at the perfect moment. In which I declared a walk to our local bakery to pick up a baguette just as the sun was setting and the rain subsided. We didn’t take “the long way” home this time as I was more than eager to dive into a warm bowl of soup with my loved ones around the table with a crunchy baguette and a glass of red to round out a splendid rainy weekend.
This recipe yielded enough to immediately serve 3 hungry people, gift a jar to a friend, leftovers for tomorrow and 1 jar for freezing. Easily 8-10 servings! Once all of the veggies are prepped this recipe takes very little time to come together.
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 can of diced tomatoes
1 red onion chopped
5 cloves of garlic chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 cups of cauliflower chopped
2 cups of green cabbage
1 zucchini sliced
8 cups of water
1 veggie bouillon
1 bay leaf
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
6 oz can of tomato paste
15 oz can kidney beans
15 oz can garbanzos beans
2 tbsp fresh oregano
2 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 tbsp fresh thyme
2 cups of pasta (I used a vegetable radiatore)
2 cups of fresh baby spinach
salt and black pepper to taste
In a large pot over medium-high heat add olive oil and the mirepoix (onion, carrot, garlic, celery) and cook until fragrant. Next, add in the cabbage, cauliflower, and zucchini stir and let cook for two minutes until well mixed and slightly softened. Slowly pour in the 8 cups of warm water, add the bouillon and bay leaf and stir. Next add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, both beans, and all remaining herbs to the pot and stir again. Allow the mix to come to a boil and then add and stir in the pasta and baby spinach, immediately turn the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 5-7 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Season to your liking with salt and pepper and remove from heat and let cool to serve.