AFC MINESTRONE SOUP
Fresh veggies, canned veggies and canned beans with soy protein simmered in a light tomato broth seasoned with garlic, fennel, basil, caraway and fresh rosemary sprigs. Served over garlic-turmeric flavored rotini pasta! Fat-free – till you add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of plant parmesan cheese per serving! Yes!
Makes 25-1/2 cups
2 c. sliced celery, 1/2 inch wide
1 lb. baby carrots – if large, then cut in half from end to end
2 c. diced sweet onion, 1/2 inch squares
1-1/2 lbs. fresh turnips – cut off ends, peel and cut into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes
1 lb. fresh zucchini – cut off ends, then cut into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes
1/2 sm. cabbage – core and cook in boiling water, covered, till fork-tender – remove, cool to touch, then cut into 1 inch squares
- I save the lg. outer leaves for stuffed cabbage and cut the inner, tighter core leaves for this soup
12 c. water
2 T. salt
fresh grind black pepper, lots
1 lg. or a few sm. sprigs fresh rosemary
15.5 oz. can cannellini beans including liquid from can
15.5 oz. can pinto beans including liquid from can
15.25 oz. can whole kernel corn including liquid from can
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. TVP (textured vegetable protein)
2 T. sugar
1 T. vegan yeast aka nutritional yeast
3 T. garlic powder
3 T. onion powder
1 T. smoked paprika
2 T. dried basil
1 T. dried oregano
2 t. fine grind caraway seed
2 t. fine grind fennel seed
1/2 t. celery seed
1 t. ground allspice
1 T. liquid smoke
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
Place extra-large soup pot over medium heat. Don’t oil the pot.
Add celery, baby carrot, onion. Cook without oil while you prep the rest of the veggies, stirring now and then. The pot will steam a lot. It’s a head start on the cooking.
Add turnip and zucchini. Stir to mix. Continue to cook about 5 minutes, stirring as needed.
Add cut cooked cabbage, water, salt, black pepper and rosemary sprigs. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and cook at a slow boil for about 10-15 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients, stirring after each addition. Continue to cook at a slow boil till veggies are nearly tender. Cover, reduce heat to low till veggies are done to your liking.
Adjust for seasoning.
Serve immediately or cool to room temperature and pack away in the refrigerator till ready to use.
Notes: This soup makes a lot. Cut the recipe in half if you don’t want to make so much or if you don’t have a large enough pot.
If served immediately the soup will have a more broth-like component, than if refrigerated overnight. The next day the broth thickens somewhat from the veggies absorbing the broth and the flavors become more prominent. Either way it’s great.
It contains a lot of solids, because that’s the way I like it. Most restaurants use much more broth than solids to cut costs, but at home I like a lot of veggies in my veggie soups.
Steve likes a little pasta in the bottom of the bowl with veg parmesan cheese on top. I like it without the pasta and topped with black Russian bread croutons. We both like a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top.
TURMERIC PASTA COOKED AUNT DOT’S WAY
1 lb. dried rotini pasta
lots of salt
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. turmeric
Fill large pot with water.
Add lots of salt – to taste like salt water, garlic powder and turmeric. Bring to boil.
Add pasta, stirring continuously till it doesn’t stick together. Return to boil.
- This is where we deviate from traditional method of cooking pasta.
Stir pasta. Cover tightly. Turn heat off. Wait 10 minutes. Remove and taste test for doneness. If too firm, replace cover and let set 3-5 minutes longer.
Drain in colander.
- If using for a salad, rinse under cold water till pasta is no longer warm. Leave in colander to set at room temperature till ready to serve soup.
- If using to sauce, then drain and quickly run under cold water and set aside.
This is the first time I cooked pasta without boiling it. It cooked perfectly without the boil. Wow. My Aunt Dot, when I was a kid visiting, cooked her spaghetti that way. She said it turned out perfectly every time. I never did try it – till now. She was right. She used to have spaghetti feeds for guests when her husband (my Uncle Jim) was home for the week-end after being on the road all week.
The turmeric doesn’t just add flavor and color. It adds texture to the pasta, so it doesn’t stick together. Wonderful effect.
USING BOUILLON VS USING HERBS AND SPICES
When cooking large animal-free soups it takes a lot of bouillon cubes to flavor it, and the vegetable stocks available in stores are basically water with little flavor. The solution is to keep a variety of dried herbs and spices on hand and use those. It’s not as expensive.
Save the bouillon and stocks for smaller recipes. If you’re serious about cooking animal-free, then include herbs and spices in your pantry. Buy in bulk or at least larger than the typical small containers in grocery stores. Look for sales; they’re out there. However, the more expensive spices/herbs, other than fresh, purchase in smaller amounts and use less often, but when you do, make them count.
For example, I love saffron, and it isn’t as expensive as we all have been led to believe. Oh sure, if you compare price per pound of saffron with the price for a pound of gold it sounds expensive, but saffron is a lot lighter in weight.
It’s like comparing a pound of potato chips with a pound of potatoes weight-wise. A pound of potato chips will cost a lot more than a pound of potatoes, but you get a lot more potato chips than potatoes. So buy a little and use it judiciously. Turmeric, by the way, doesn’t taste like saffron; it just colors like it and we did not use saffron in this minestrone. A little goes a long way. End of saffron sermon.