winter minestrone

winter minestrone
If you’re experiencing post-holiday blues and you’re still facing weeks of winter weather, try focusing on one really good thing about winter: big pots of hot soup. This one incorporates the best of winter’s produce offerings.

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 carrots, diced
1 turnip, peeled and diced
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp. thyme
8 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 can cannellini beans, undrained
1 cup small pasta shapes (we used spirals)
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups kale leaves, washed and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a stewpot over medium heat. Sautè the onion 5 minutes or until transparent. Add celery and garlic; stir to combine. Stir in the carrots, turnip, and potatoes. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Add spices, vegetable broth, and barley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.

3. Add beans, pasta, and tomato paste. Return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook over medium heat until the pasta is tender.

4. Stir in the chopped kale and cook for about 5 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

minestrone

There are many versions of minestrone; this is one of our favorites. Feel free to substitute in-season produce.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped,
2 zucchini, sliced
3 red potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth or water
1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1 16-oz can cannellini beans, drained
1 cup cut green beans
salt to taste

1. In large stewpot, heat olive oil. Sauté onion until semitransparent.

2. Add carrots, celery, zucchini, potatoes, cabbage, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

3. Add remaining ingredients; simmer another 30 minutes.

bean and pasta soup

Ruth created this winter wonderland of pasta and beans with a spicy tomato-based sauce. We’ve all tried this dish and loved its color and flavor. It’s satisfying and perfect for a cold winter day.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
6 cups vegetable stock
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. Italian seasoning blend
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups Gemelli pasta

1. Heat oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic. Stir and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients except pasta; then increase heat to high. When soup begins to boil, stir in pasta and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve with a salad and artisan bread.

This soup will thicken while in the refrigerator, so add water or broth when reheating leftovers.

cannellini bean dip

This mild dip is perfect for dipping fresh veggies. Try baby carrots, zucchini slices, celery sticks, broccoli and cauliflower florets, asparagus spears, mushrooms, bell pepper slices, or cherry tomatoes. If you prefer spicy dips, try adding a dash of your favorite hot sauce for an extra kick.

1 15-oz. can cannellini beans
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano (or 1/4 tsp. dried)
1/4 tsp. salt
Additional olive oil for drizzling

Add beans, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, and salt to the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture into a small serving dish. Drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with a little oregano or parsley. Dip your veggies!