On a year by year seasonal basis, I go through phases. Some winter seasons, Im all about pasta. Other seasons Ive hunkered down and found my way around many different curry recipes. This season? It appears to be all about one-pot stews that warm (and also happen to be good with a solid piece of crusty bread).
Recipe Base: a vegan original
This particular recipe is a lightly tweaked version of minestrone that I developed for Simply Recipes. The version over on that site, however, is vegan. This version is decidedly not. The vegan version is good but when it comes to these tomato stews, I feel like its just screaming for cheese.
I didnt put this in the recipe but this stew is also good with a parmesan rind thrown in. However, Ive found it really only works with the non-vegetarian parmesan (which is why I didnt include it in the recipe). So, just a thought, that if you arent going for a full vegetarian recipe- toss the rind in, you wont be disappointed.
Also, Ill give my spiel here about frozen vegetables. I love keeping frozen vegetables on hand because try as a might, my family is not always up for the squash and sweet potato recipes I want every day. Frozen vegetables retain their nutrition and when produce is out of season, Ill buy frozen. I almost always have green beans, peas, and edamame stashed away.
Rice Versus Pasta
Finally, you could totally switch back over to making this soup with pasta. It would definitely speed up the process. However, theres something really nice about the rice. It would also be nice with farro, sorghum, or even barley.
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