Category Archives: Food Photography

Healthy Minestrone Recipe

This is my ultimate favourite soup recipe! Of course I have to give the credit to Tosca Reno, the author of ‘The Eat-Clean Diet’ (2007). Many of my favourite recipes come from her cookbooks. I have been making this soup for almost 10 years. Over time I have made some changes to it, especially for canning. Here I will write about how I make it, but you are welcome to buy her book to see her recipe.

The first time I made this soup my pot was not big enough! Make sure you have a large pot! One that holds at least 10 litres.

Also, make sure you have at least 6 hours. You need lots of time to chop and cook the vegetables, and then you need at least an hour for processing the jars.

Ingredients:

1 leek, whites only, halved, rinsed and sliced

2 cups blanched tomatoes (I blanch the night before so they are ready to go)

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds or quarter pieces

1 onion, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

4 stalks of celery, chopped

2 Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and chopped into bite-sized chunks, keep skins on

2 zucchini, diced

1/2 cup red kidney beans (prepare dry beans the night before)

1 cup snow peas, cut into bite-sized pieces

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 Tbsp olive oil (add more as needed)

1/4 pound green beans, cut off and discard ends, and chop into bite-sized pieces

1/2 pound kale

1/2 green cabbage, shredded

1 Tbsp basil (2 Tbsp if using fresh basil)

1 Tbsp parsley (2 Tbsp if using fresh parsley)

1 Tbsp rosemary (2 Tbsp if using fresh rosemary– the only reason why I started growing in my garden was for this recipe!!)

2 litres low-sodium vegetable juice (I like the PC Blue Menu vegetable juice blend)

16 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (Here I use 2, 900mL containers of PC Organic Vegetable Broth + 9 cups of water and 3 vegetable bouillon cubes. Water and bouillon cubes prepared separately before adding to soup mixture)

1/2 cup small pasta shells (I use rice pasta shells)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the dried beans the night before: bring 2 litres of water to a boil, add beans and bring back to boil. Remove from heat and let soak in pot overnight.
  2. In a large soup pot heat olive oil on medium heat and start adding vegetables. I do them in a specific order, allowing each batch to become slightly soft before adding the next. This is also the way that I grouped vegetables when chopping in advance. See Canning Soup and Having a Baby for more on that.
    1. onion, red onion and leeks
    2. once onions are soft stir in garlic and continue adding vegetables
    3. carrots, celery and potatoes
    4. zucchini and snow peas
    5. green cabbage
    6. kale
    7. once vegetables are fairly soft add tomatoes, spices and green beans
    8. give a good stir and add vegetable juice, soup stock and kidney beans
  3. If canning, let simmer for 1 hour. If serving the soup, then let simmer for 2 hours.
  4. If canning, do not add pasta noodles. Those you can add when you prepare the soup for consumption. If serving soup add noodles about 15 minutes before serving.

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Canning Instructions: To Come…

My husband’s 100 year-old grandmother loved this soup! That’s gotta to say something about the soup! I continue to make it every year. It’s healthy and delicious!

Canning Soup and Having a Baby

My favourite soup, the one that got me through my pregnancy when I didn’t want to eat anything else, is Minestrone. But not any Minestrone soup will do. I love the Clean-Eating Minestrone Soup from The Eat-Clean Diet (2007) book.

Last August I made about 16 litres of the soup. Much of the soup was made up of vegetables from our garden. Last week, so over a year later, I finished eating the very last jar of soup. My heart sank. What soup was I going to eat now?

Lately my baking and cooking and photography and blogging efforts have been put on hold as I care for my lovely daughter. However, she is now 5 months old and taking longer naps. This allows me to get back to big batch cooking, baking, some photography (mostly of her), and blogging! Yay!

Making this soup and canning it from start to finish takes about 6 hours. Six hours when it was just me and endless summer hours on hand. I was a bit disheartened as there was no way that my daughter would (and I wouldn’t want her to) sleep while I made the soup. It was time to plan like never before for cooking!

Step 1 (Day 1): Hire Oma to babysit while I grocery shop for all of the ingredients. At this point the baby doesn’t fit in the cart with all of the groceries I needed. Unfortunately I was not able to use many vegetables from our garden this year, because let’s face it, being a new mom and gardening was too much for me! I admire you supermoms who can do it! Maybe next year.

Step 1B (Day 1-2): Prepare dried beans for overnight soak.

Step 2 (Day 2): Start cleaning and chopping chunks of produce while the baby naps.

Step 3: Baby’s up, take a break from chopping.

Step 4: Baby’s down, continue chopping.

Step 5: Baby’s up, feed and take into the kitchen to finish a batch of chopping.

Step 6: Baby’s down, keep chopping.

Step 7: Wonder if all this work is worth it.

Step 8: Finish chopping and prepping vegetables just as baby wakes up from final nap of the day!

Step 9 (Day 2-3): Once our daughter goes down for bed in the night she is very unlikely to wake up until early morning. I know, we’re very lucky! So once she went down in the evening that’s when I started cooking and then canning soup. The cooking and canning part took about 4 hours. The chopping of all the vegetables during her naps throughout the day was about 3 hours. I made a double batch so there was more chopping to do than usual. The first night I made one batch of soup (that’s all I can fit in the pot). I made a second batch of soup the next night, taking another 4 hours. My sister says I’m dedicated! I just really love this healthy soup I guess. In total I spent about 11 hours making 18 and 1/2 litres of soup! This is much longer than before, but it’s totally worth it! I got to spend time with my daughter and work around her sleep schedule to cook healthy meals for our family.

Throughout this process there was absolutely no time for food photography! The photographs from this post were taken last August when I made the soup. However, the objective of having clean-eating soup for winter was accomplished!

Here is the recipe: Healthy Minestrone Soup

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