Great Northern Bean and Spinach Minestrone

Minestrone with spinachIngredients:

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 slender carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, rinsed and chopped – include the leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (15 oz) cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 Parmesan rind
2 T garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 t oregano
1/2 t thyme
1/4 t black pepper
Dash red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cups tightly packed fresh spinach, leaves torn in half
1/2 cup soup pasta like acini de pepe
1 T extra virgin olive oil

Spoon Mage™ Note:

When you get down to the rind of Parmesan or Romano cheese, cut it off and place inside a freezer bag. They keep well in the freezer and are invaluable for flavoring soups and stews. Some stores sell them separately. If you cook often – and you should – buy some!

Directions:

Set a large pot over medium heat. When the pot gets very hot, add the olive oil, onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the onion softens, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and sauté 2 more minutes.

Add the drained beans, stock, water, tomatoes, parmesan rind, garlic powder, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.

Bring to a simmer, cover, and let the soup simmer on very low for about one hour. Stir often.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Add the spinach and soup pasta, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in 1 T extra-virgin olive oil and remove the cheese rind.

Serve hot with some Basic Italian Bread for a hearty, vegetarian meal.

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