Spring Minestrone Soup
Welcome spring with this savory soup from Hank. ~Elise
Minestrone is one of my favorite soups, and it is infinitely malleable with the seasons. This version celebrates springtime, when fresh, new vegetables begin to show up at the market. I know to make this soup whenever I can get asparagus, artichokes and peas all at the same time. These vegetables form the backbone to the soup.
Another good thing about this minestrone is that it takes only about an hour to make, from start to finish, including prep time. Classic minestrone takes at least a couple hours to make, and my own recipe for minestrone takes 8 hours. There’s something to be said for a quick version.
Keep in mind that the ingredients below are a guide. Minestrone is supposed to be free-form, with whatever looks good at the produce market. Don’t like artichoke hearts? Skip them. Despise chickpeas? Use some other bean. Just be sure to use lots of different kinds of vegetables and you’ll be fine.
The other key to this recipe is to build the soup like a house. Don’t toss everything in all at once, or some vegetables will be overcooked and some undercooked. This is why when you read my recipe below you will see that I add ingredients little by little.
Feel free to use canned or frozen vegetables in some cases. I use canned chickpeas and will often use frozen peas, which are almost as good as fresh. For a special occasion, use all fresh ingredients, though, as you can definitely taste the difference.
You can either make fresh pesto for this recipe, or you can just buy some high-quality pesto in the market.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 6 green onions
- 2 green garlic stalks, or 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 pound baby potatoes, or Yukon gold potatoes cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 pound artichoke hearts (fresh or frozen), chopped roughly
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
- 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 cups greens (dandelion, chard, spinach, kale, arugula, etc), sliced into thin ribbons
- Up to 1/4 cup pesto
- Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese for garnish
1 Prep green onions, green garlic, potatoes, artichoke hearts: Chop the green onions and green garlic and separate the white and light green parts from the green tops. If you are using regular garlic cloves, put them with the white parts of the green onions. Slice the potatoes and artichoke hearts into chunks you would want to eat with a spoon.
2 Sauté white parts of green onions and garlic, add potatoes: In a large pot set over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil for 1 minute. Add the white parts of the green onions as well as the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, stir to combine and cook 1 minute.
3 Add tomatoes, stock, salt, then simmer: Add the diced tomatoes with their liquid and the quart of vegetable or chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, add salt to taste, then cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
4 Add artichoke hearts, then chickpeas, green peas, then asparagus, garlic and onion greens: Add the artichoke hearts and cook another 5 minutes, then add the chickpeas and green peas and cook another 5 minutes. Remove the cover from the soup and add the asparagus. Cook 2 minutes. Add the greens and the green parts from the green onions and green garlic, if using. Stir well to combine and cook 1 minute.
5 Add pesto, cheese: Turn off the heat and stir in the pesto. Serve topped with grated cheese.