Yes I said it:: winter. There has been snow, Christmas music on the radio, and peppermint lattes so winter has arrived. Time to hurry up and eat your veggies because this may be one of your last chances. Well…at least without a lot of cream, butter, or cheese involved.
This recipe was inspired by a recent soup I made with Italian sausage. I loved slurping up the delicious broth that had been infused with the fennel and Italian seasonings in the sausage. I wanted that same flavor in this healthy, winter twist on minestrone. The vegetables are sweet, bitter, and aromatic layering on each other. The beans and quinoa provides both texture and protein. I ate this topped with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread. It will freeze and reheat very well.
- Olive oil
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 fennel bulb
- 2 onions
- 4 celery ribs
- 6-8 garlic cloves
- 2-4 sweet potatoes, peeled (about 3 cups once chopped)
- 2 bunches swiss chard, stems removed from leaves
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp fennel seed
- 1 28 oz can of tomatoes
- 1 can cannelloni beans
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup quinoa
- shredded Parmesan (optional)
- Chop all the veggies. This is where you expend the most effort for this recipe then everything just gets thrown in a big ol’ pot. The carrots, onion, fennel, celery and stalks of the chard can be chopped small, almost to a dice. The sweet potatoes can be slightly larger at 1/2″ pieces.
- Heat 3 TBSP oil over medium heat. Add the chopped veggies including chard stems and stir to combine. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally then add herbs, tomatoes, beans, and stock. I used whole tomatoes and crushed them with my hands before adding. Crushed or diced tomatoes would work equally well.
- Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in quinoa and shredded chard leaves and simmer an additional 10 minutes or until the quinoa is tender.