Rumor has it in other parts of the country is it winter. One would never know it living in Southern California! But you don’t have to wait for cold weather to enjoy hearty, nourishing soups, like this Gluten Free Minestrone with Pancetta!
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A Beautiful, Veggie Packed Soup!
Minestrone traditionally has a tomato and stock base, lots of vegetables and sometimes meat or pasta. Mine has both, making it hearty and filling!
Pancetta is basically bacon with a sexy Italian accent. I use a thickly sliced pancetta in this soup, it adds so much flavor and I love that salty ‘bite’!
Get Bilingual with Those Veggies
Like many soups the base for our minestrone is a ‘mirepoix’ (meer-a-pwah). “Mirepoix” is a French word meaning “holy trinity”…in other words: celery, carrots and onion. But the French word is so much more elegant, so use it and impress your friends with your bilingual…ness.
We aren’t done with the vegetables yet…we are adding more: kale, green beans, zucchini and a ton of tomatoes. (If you are worried about canned tomatoes and BPA exposure please see the links I provided below). Between all the vegetables and the chicken stock (my recipe) this soup is a nutritional powerhouse.
Last we add navy beans and gluten free pasta. Helpful hint: some gluten free pastas do not freeze and then thaw well. If you are planning on freezing soup before eating, freeze it without the pasta and add cooked pasta after thawing. (affiliate links)
I freeze soup in mason jars (affiliate link) for those busy days when I don’t have time to cook. It also comes in handy when a friend gets sick and needs a healthy meal dropped off. When freezing, make sure soup is completely cooled, fill 3/4 full and set in freezer with the lid loose. After soup is frozen tighten the lid.
The Recipe: Gluten Free Minestrone Soup
15 minutes prep, 30 minutes cook time.
- 4 strips thickly sliced pancetta, cooked and chopped (can sub bacon if desired)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 10-12 green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 2 curly kale leaves, (stalks removed) chopped
- 1 28oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes (Muir Glen Tomatoes come in BPA free cans)
- 1 14.5oz. can crushed tomatoes (Organic Eden offers crushed tomatoes in glass jars)
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 1 1/2 cups your choice of macaroni pasta (see my gluten free suggestion in post above)
- 1 15 oz. can navy beans
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or more if you like more of a kick
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 T herbs de Provence
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- Sea Salt to taste
Place Pancetta in large stock pot and cook on medium heat till done.
Remove from pan and set on paper towels to cool, then chop.
Add carrots, onions, celery and green beans to pot with pancetta fat. (If needed add a tablespoon of olive oil)
Saute for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add zucchini, kale and chopped pancetta, sauté for a few more minutes stirring often.
Add broth, tomatoes, garlic and spices, bring to a boil. Once soup is boiling lower heat to a simmer and add pasta (if you are going to freeze this soup for later use leave pasta out and cooked pasta to thawed soup).
Cook until pasta is al dente (usually 6-9 minutes). Add navy beans and cayenne pepper, stir and sea salt to taste, serve.
~ Linda Spiker
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