Now this is a story all about how
My leftovers got flipped-turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute, just sit on your throne
I’ll tell you how I made them into a soup called minestrone!
Just call me the Fresh Princess of Soup. Or call me a nerd. Either way, we both get to call this soup delicious.
I adore this recipe for so many reasons, but the first and always most important one is how darn tasty it is. It may just look like a big bowl of veggies, but I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to turn that into something much greater than the sum of it’s parts.
I’m talking about bacon you guys! And cheese, too! Do I have your attention yet?
It’s no secret they make everything taste better, and a little goes a long way. Just a few humble slices of smokey bacon and an old rind from a wedge of parmesan give this soup a richness that could never be achieved from veggies alone.
This stuff is so full of flavor, it’s easy to forget how healthy it is.
And, well, that’s the thing: It’s crazy healthy!
Chock full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and hydrating liquids, this minestrone is like a magic elixir. Yes, MAGIC! And we’ll take all the magic we can get this time of year, thank you very much.
But what really makes this soup such a no-brainer is how versatile and adaptable it is – perfect for using up all those leftover bits that I know you have lurking somewhere in your kitchen.
For me, that means the wilted celery in my crisper drawer, a fresh sprig of thyme that sat out on the counter long enough to become a dried sprig of thyme, a handful of stray green beans on their very last legs, one of those Parmesan cheese rinds I’ve been hoarding, whatever greens didn’t make it into yesterday’s smoothie, a few slices of bacon leftover from breakfast, and the remains of a can of tomatoes that was opened a week ago when I only needed one.
For you, it might mean something entirely different. So go ahead! Switch it up and use whatever odds and ends you have laying around. Take your trash and turn it into treasure. Repurposing is all the rage these days.
Use my recipe as a guideline, not gospel. That’s what’s going to make your soup special and unique. Like a snowflake!
This soup is so warm, rich and hearty that it makes the perfect backdrop for a bright pistou to be swirled in right before serving.
What is pistou exactly? It’s the French equivalent of pesto, minus the pine nuts, and in this case minus the cheese as well. Just a pungent pop of garlic, parsley and olive oil to liven up the soup.
Healthy Bonus: The raw garlic in the pistou is amazing for warding off winter colds and the flu. And no need to worry about garlic breath either – the natural oils in parsley neutralize the sulfurous compound in garlic that makes our breath stank. So you’ll be healthy, satisfied and still kissable too.
I told you, this stuff is magic. Clean out your fridge and make a batch today!
Minestrone with Parsley Pistou
Makes 6 Generous Servings
Cook Time: 30 minutes plus 1-2 hours to simmer (inactive)
This is not exactly a traditional minestrone in the sense that I use bacon instead of pancetta (I prefer the smokiness) and I leave out the pasta. Why add unnecessary carbs and gluten when you don’t have to? There’s already plenty going on.
That being said, this recipe is totally open to interpretation, so if you prefer pancetta or want to add in some pasta, don’t let me stop you. Throw in some leftover shredded chicken, the rice from last night’s Chinese takeout, a diced sweet potato that’s starting to sprout, or anything else about to go bad in your fridge.
Use what’s in season and what’s on hand. No need to make this more complicated than it is.