Master recipes are a passion of mine and I really enjoy finding and formulating them because of the culinary versatility they offer. Once you have a template for a dish, the possibilities open up wide. Having master recipes for various meals means I can pretty much shop my fridge and cabinet and gather enough miscellaneous ingredients to create a wonderful meal. Sometimes, I even hit the jackpot and end up creating something so different and tasty, it becomes part of my repertoire. The other main thing I appreciate about master recipes is that I can select in-season produce, making the same recipe over and over through the seasons, always with different results.
This is my master recipe for "skinny" (no fat added) minestrone soup. I've used it countless times and it never fails.
La Vegan Loca's Master "Skinny" Minestrone Soup
- 1 medium onion, chopped (whatever kind you like or have on hand - white, yellow, red, and bunch of green onions, several shallots, whatever)
- 1-2 carrots, chopped
- 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 4 cloves or garlic, minced
- about 2 cups of hard veggies (those that cook longer) like root veggies and winter squash varieties, peeled (if necessary) and rough chopped into 3/4-inch pieces - any combination adding up to approximately 2 cups will do
- 6 cups liquid (all water, all stock, 4 cups stock + 2 cups water ... whatever you've got)
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (Italian, unseasoned, again ... whatever is in your cupboard)
- about 2 cups of soft veggies and/or precooked and drained leftover or canned legumes (those that cook quickly) like corn kernels, green beans, summer squash, dark leafy greens, beans, lentils, etc. peeled (if necessary) and rough chopped 1/2 inch pieces - any combination adding up to approximately 2 cups will do
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped herbs (1/4 cup for dry, 1/2 cup for fresh) - use anything you may have that goes with your veggies (parsley is a given, basil, cilantro, sage, chives, thyme, whatever you have that makes you happy)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Throw the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and hard veggies into a soup pot and place over medium-high heat. Stir often and when things begin to stick (and before you garlic burns), add the liquid and crushed tomatoes.
- Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover the soup, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the veggies are a bit soft (but not totally mushy).
- Add soft veggies and herbs and adjust heat (if necessary) to keep the soup simmering. Continue simmering, uncovered, another 15 minutes or so until all the veggies are tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings as you like. Serve and enjoy!
The measurements and times for this recipe are merely suggestions from years of experience. If it looks too wet, add more veggies. If it looks too dry, add more liquid. Just keep tasting it and adjusting it and you'll be fine.
I, obviously, can't offer nutritional information for this one because of all the possible ingredient choices, but rest assured this is a healthy dish that just about anyone will love.
Other additions you may consider include pesto, hot sauce, tofu, tempeh, and seitan, but I almost never feel the need to add anything.