February 26, 2009

Black-eyed Beans, Vegetable and Pesto Minestrone

I guess if you have been following my blog you would know by now that soups are not exactly my favourite food. In fact, I have only one soup recipe on my blog till date! My husband and daughter, on the other hand, enjoy their soup. But Akshaya always tells me that I am not very good at making soup and I have to agree with her. Maybe it has something to do with my indifferent attitude towards soup in general.

Some time back, I decided to work on improving my soup making skills. On one hand, soup is a great thing when you want a light but filling dinner. On the other hand if you are careful about what you eat or garnish your soup with, it is an excellent meal which is low in calories. One does have to worry about these things as one gets older (and heavier)!

Minestrone is an Italian soup which takes its name from "minestra" which refers to a hearty or chunky soup. There are probably as many different recipes for minestrone as there are people who cook it and every region of Italy has its traditional minestrone soup that it is famous for. However, all minestrone soups usually feature a tomato based broth (this could be thin or thick) with onion, celery, beans, seasonal vegetables and sometimes pasta or rice. Some versions also include a bit of meat.

So minestrone is a soup that very easily adapts itself to what is available in one's kitchen. And given the ingredients it accommodates, it makes for a nutritious and filling one-dish meal.

I have adapted this recipe from Tarla Dalal's The Complete Italian Cookbook. She says that this particular minestrone with pesto is from Milan. The pesto lends the minestrone a nutty flavour and can be made ahead, but add it just before you finish making the minestrone. This minestrone is best served as soon as it is made.


1 big onion, finely chopped

3/4 tsp garlic paste

2 tbsp celery, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped zucchini

1/2 cup finely shredded cabbage

1 1/4 cup cooked black-eyed beans

1/4 small shell pasta (or any soup pasta)

3 tbsp tomato purée

1/2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

For the pesto:

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves

3 to 4 walnut halves

1 tbsp olive oil

To serve:

3 to 4 tbsp grated parmesan or processed cheese (optional)


Prepare the pesto by pounding all the ingredients together. Keep aside.

Heat the oil, add the garlic paste and onions and sauté till the onions become transparent. Add the celery, carrots, zucchini and cabbage and sauté for a minute. Add about four cups of water, the tomato purée, salt and sugar. Stir well and bring to a boil.

Simmer until the vegetables have cooked but are firm. Add the beans and pasta and simmer again for about 10 minutes, until the pasta has cooked. Add the pepper and pesto and mix well.
Serve out into individual bowls and sprinkle with cheese, if using. This recipe serves 4.

This is my submission to Susan's Eighth Helping of My Legume Love Affair.
Since we had this soup without the cheese, it also goes to Vaishali's Its A Vegan World where the flavour of the month is Italian.


Nags said...

home-made pesto has been in my to-do list for a while but i am lazy. very very lazy :D

jayasree said...

A bowl of that soup indeed makes a meal by itself. I prefer these kind. Looks like you are partial to black-eyed beans:).

sunita said...

We love our soup...can have it anytime....your minestrone looks yummy :-)

Sunshinemom said...

I love minestrone. Comes next after veg. manchow soup. Yours looks really hearty enough to make a mini meal by itself, and very tasty too! Never added pesto to soup before - it sounds good! I have few soups posted but I do make them occasionally (not often!).

Sia said...

now no one can say u r not gd at making soups :) it looks very delicious aparna :)

Madhumathi said...

slurp!The soup looks very inviting..im hungry now :)

Priya said...

Real comfort soup..really inviting!!

Asha said...

I love soups in Winter, makes you feel good, but in Summer only chilled soups are great. Looks great Aparna! :)

Vaishali said...

That's a delicious soup, Aparna. Minnestrone's one of my favorites, and it's so nutritious too. Thanks for this lovely entry to IAVW: Italian.

Usha said...

Loved that you made the pesto from scratch for this soup,it would have added a fresh touch to the soup...looks delicious !

anubhavati said...

Hi Aparna,

Reminds me of the hearty vegetarian soup from Olive Garden. It does not have a pesto base though!!! Lovely and lip smacking delicious!!!

Maya said...

I love Minestrone soup, is on my to make list this week or so. Your's looks delicious with the pesto and all.

Ashwini said...

wow love soups..Can have a bowl ful for lunch..Yumm with all veggies and pesto..

Cham said...

The soup is very hearty and excellent for the winter night!

Soma said...

Minestrone contains all the whole hearted goodness! our entire family can live on minestrone soup. Urs look realy good. & I love that bowl!

Bharti said...

I love soups but perhaps it has something to do with the cold weather here...you can't help but yearn for a warm bowl of soup. I love minestrone and the pesto in it sounds really flavorful. Also I've never seen black eyes peas in minestrone..different.

A_and_N said...

Anything with pesto, I'm in :)

I'm ok with soups. Not a huge fan, but I don't hate it either!

Divya Vikram said...

minestrone soup is my fav. I order these whenever I gto Italian restaurants. Glad u tried it at home!

Nithya Praveen said...

Wow this is my fav one Aparna.Love to make this at home.So after making this did Akshaya say - Momie is the best:-)???

Curry Leaf said...

Love this.Hope this soup must have changed aversion to soups.I too keep making it.Love soups too much.My blog is full of soups I must add.

Susan said...

Aparna, are you *sure* you aren't good at making soup?!? This looks so very delicious. Minestrone is a great classic; I can only imagine how flavorful it is with pesto added.

Thanks for the great MLLA8 recipe!

Aparna said...

Thanks everyone. I would now like to believe my soups taste a lot better.
My husband seems to think so.:)

No Nithya, she still thinks "there's something not quite right, Amma"! :D