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  • Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Posted on January 5, 2017
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Happy New Year! I hope 2017 is off to a wonderful start for everyone.

I must say, this first week of January has been pretty good to me. I’m feeling more rested and relaxed than usual. And I may have even detected a small “spring in my step” the other day when I was out walking my dog. I guess I was anxious (and long overdue) for a bit of a reset.

In general, I always love this time of year. Christmas is safely behind us (remember that I’m a big Scrooge!). And everything seems sparkly and fresh. And while I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions (I find they cause me unnecessary stress and anxiety), I was prompted by a friend to set three words of intention for 2017, and I decided to give that a go. It’s a seemingly simple task, but it did force me to pause and think about what I would like to achieve going forward into the New Year.

So my three words for 2017 are: create, peace, present.

What are your intentions for 2017? If you have three words you’d like to set, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup | www.floatingkitchen.net

So…let’s talk about this Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup. YOU GUYS it’s so freaking good. I made a giant pot last week and I didn’t share it with anyone. I greedily ate it all by myself. And I reveled in the fact that I didn’t have to cook for several nights. I was in heaven.

This soup is full to the brim with delicious seasonal vegetables, nourishing ingredients and all the feel good vibes you can handle. It’s a great way to kick off the New Year. And trust me, you won’t feel deprived one bit. I’m totally digging it. And I know you will be too.

To make this minestrone soup recipe all cozy for winter, I used butternut squash and fennel in place of the usual carrots and celery. Then I added in a couple big handfuls of dark, leafy kale and lots of fresh herbs to keep things bright. I stuck with the more traditional ditalini and white beans, but you could certainly use any small-ish pasta and/or beans that you like. It’s all good in my book.

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup | www.floatingkitchen.net

This recipe calls for a large jar of tomato Passata, which is an uncooked tomato purée that has been strained of the seeds and skins. Look for tomato Passata in your grocery store, located next to the other jarred/canned tomato products. Canned tomato purée is cooked and usually not strained, so it’s not an exact substitute. But you could probably use it in a pinch, if necessary. The other option would be to purchase canned whole tomatoes, then run them through your food processor or blender and strain them to achieve a smooth consistency.

This soup recipe itself is dairy free. I do like to shred some Parmesan cheese on top to finish the dish for serving. However, if you’re going dairy free, just leave that part out. Easy peasy!

I’m sharing this Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup recipe today as part of our monthly 30 Minute Thursday series. That’s right! You can make this gorgeous, satisfying soup in only 30 minutes! Just be sure to use a big pot for increased surface area and faster cooking. And keep the vegetables small and uniform so they cook up quickly and evenly. And before you go, check out the links below to see the other #30MinuteThursday recipes created by some of my blogging buddies!

Cheers,

Liz

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Serves about 6

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced fennel
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (24.5 ounce) jar tomato Passata (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups thinly sliced kale leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped and divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired

Instructions

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the butternut squash, onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. If the pot is getting dry, you can add an additional tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and black pepper and cook for 2 minutes more.
  2. Add the vegetable broth and Passata. Use the water to rinse out the Passata jar and add it to the pot. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the ditalini according to the package instructions until it’s al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Add the cannellini beans, sliced kale and 3/4 cups of the chopped parsley to the soup and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked ditalini and lemon juice. Taste and adjust the soup for salt and black pepper.
  5. Ladle the hot soup into bowls. Top with some of the reserved parsley and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.
  6. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days. The soup will thicken oven time. You can add additional vegetable broth to thin the soup when re-heating it, if desired.
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/winter-vegetable-minestrone-soup/

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  • Warm Spinach Salad with Roasted Grapes and Sweet Potatoes

Warm Spinach Salad with Roasted Grapes and Sweet Potatoes

Posted on December 29, 2016

Hi Friends! I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas! Was Santa good to you? Have you come down off your cookie-induced sugar high yet?

I think I’m still somewhere floating in the sugary clouds. I ate A LOT of cookies. Way too many to count. And even if I had counted, I certainly wouldn’t put that number down in writing for the whole world to see.

So I’m popping in real quick today to bring you this Warm Spinach Salad with Roasted Grapes and Sweet Potatoes. It’s the perfect recipe if you’re feeling the need to hit the “reset” button. And it would also be a great salad to add to your New Year’s Eve menu, if you just so happen to be hosting a party (or going to a party!).

Warm Spinach Salad with Roasted Grapes and Sweet Potatoes | www.floatingkitchen.net

The inspiration for this dish came from one of my favorite spinach salad recipes from the archives. I added some roasted sweet potatoes to make it a bit more filling (this could totally pass as a “main meal” type of salad). And I decided to give it a bit of a New Year’s Eve twist with the addition of roasted grapes. Did you know that grapes are one of the traditional and/or lucky foods that you’re suppose to consume on New Year’s Eve? As it goes, at midnight you eat twelve grapes, one to symbolize each of the twelve months in the upcoming year. You’re suppose to finish all twelve grapes before the last stroke of midnight, which apparently is a task that’s easier said than done. I think I’ll give it a try this year!

Warm Spinach Salad with Roasted Grapes and Sweet Potatoes | www.floatingkitchen.net

You want the spinach in this recipe to wilt slightly, so be sure to scrape in the roasted sweet potatoes and grapes (and any olive oil from the pan), while they are still warm.

I hope you all have a fun and safe New Year’s Eve. I’ll be sipping on these Grapefruit and Sage Champagne Cocktails. If you haven’t tried them yet, it’s the perfect time to do so!

See you in 2017!

Cheers,

Liz

Warm Spinach Salad with Roasted Grapes and Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4-6

Warm Spinach Salad with Roasted Grapes and Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red seedless grapes
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced into thin triangles
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 2-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together the grapes, sweet potatoes, olive oil, maple syrup, rosemary and salt until the grapes and sweet potatoes are evenly coated with the olive oil. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet and roast in your pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time. The sweet potatoes should be soft and the grapes should be slightly wrinkly. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Place the spinach in a very large bowl. Add the warm roasted grapes and sweet potatoes to the spinach, making sure to scrape in any oil left behind on the baking sheet. Toss gently to combine, sprinkling with some balsamic vinegar as you do so. Add the hazelnuts and goat cheese, tossing gently to combine.
  3. Transfer the salad to serving dishes and enjoy while still warm.
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/warm-spinach-salad-with-roasted-grapes-and-sweet-potatoes/

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