Spring Vegetable Quinoa Minestrone
Author - Alyssa Rimmer
Today I'm partnering with my lovely friends from Tuttorosso Tomatoes to bring you a comforting quinoa minestrone that's lightened up with seasonal spring veggies.
A big batch of soup might not be the first thing that jumps to mind as we're moving into spring, but with the chilly weather we've been having in NYC, it was the perfect, simple meal. It also comes together really quickly, so for those nights when you don't really have a plan to dinner but still want something healthy and nourishing? This soup is it.
Soup in my house is kind of a controversial subject. I'm all about soups that are smooth and creamy. Matt on the other hand would much prefer something that is broth-based, with chunky vegetables and meat. So more often than not we just don’t make it. Unless I’m home alone, of course.
This quinoa minestrone is my compromise. It's chunky just as Matt likes it, but has some of my favorite veggies inside. Plus, it's meatless, so that's another check on my list!
It starts with a simple base of sauteed onions, garlic, carrots and a can of diced tomatoes. Then it's just some water (or veggie broth), quinoa and lots and LOTS of veggies!
For the tomatoes, I always make sure to purchase the no salt added ones from Tuttorosso because the extra sodium really just isn’t necessary.
It also means that we have more control over the flavor of our dish and it gives us the opportunity to add more vitamins to the meal by using a mineral-rich sea salt.
I also love that Tuttorosso tomatoes hold up when they’re cooked. You know how some will kind of disintegrate? Not these! There’s still big chunks of juicy red tomatoes in there.
Classic minestrone is made with pasta. But since we often bend the rules around here, rather than pasta I added in quinoa.
While not quite as pronounced texturally wise as the pasta would be, the quinoa upped the protein content of the soup, keeping it hearty and filling without overloading your body with refined carbs.
The remaining veggies you can have a little fun with. Since I’m all about finding what’s available to you, here’s what I was able to get at the store:
- sweet peas
But I encourage you to play and use what a) you can find in season and b) what you enjoy. Not a kale fan? try spinach! Don’t want funky smelling pee? Swap the asparagus for green beans! Don’t like peas? Sweet corn would be delicious!
Oh and if you want to make it a bit heartier, feel free to throw in a can of garbanzo or navy beans!
No matter what your combination is, it’s going to be delicious. You can never go wrong with a soup like this because it can always be tweaked to your preferences. That’s what makes it so amazing (and the perfect “clean out the fridge” meal!).
To serve, I highly suggest a piece of toasted bread and a touch of nutritional yeast. You get a slightly cheesy flavor (which is so familiar with a dish like this) and have the perfect vessel to soak up the remaining tomatoy broth. YUM!
What are you favorite vegetables to add to minestrone? I can’t wait to see what combinations you come up with! I’d love for you to snap a pic and tag @simplyquinoa on Instagram so I can actually see it (or send me a Snap of the finished product! @alyssarimmer)
Spring Vegetable Quinoa Minestrone
It also comes together really quickly, so for those nights when you don't really have a plan to dinner but still want something healthy and nourishing? This soup is it.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small white onion diced
- 1 cup sliced carrots about 2 medium
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (I used Tuttorosso)
- 4 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup white quinoa uncooked
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt + pepper to taste*
- 1 cup chopped zucchini 1 small or 1/2 of 1 medium
- 1 1/2 cups chopped asparagus
- 1 packed cup chopped kale or spinach
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- Nutritional yeast or parmesan to garnish
Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions and carrots and cook until starting to brown, about 2 - 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, quinoa, spices, bay leaves, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove lid and stir in remaining vegetables. Cook for 10 minutes more until asparagus has started to soften, but still has a light crunch.
Taste, adjust seasonings as needed and serve immediately. Garnish with nutritional yeast (or cheese) if you want some cheesy flavor.
*I used water in this recipe so added about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teapspoon of pepper -- this would be too much if you were using vegetable broth, so start with just 1/2 a teaspoon and adjust from there.
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This post was sponsored by Tuttorosso, but all opinions are my own. As always, thank you for supporting the brands that I love and I hope you try their tomatoes – I’m not even kidding when I tell you that the quality is out of this world (and the flavor is amazing!)
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