Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Vegan and gluten-free hearty minestrone soup

It's still cold and windy here in Melbourne, and soup is calling more than ever. 

What's not to love about minestrone soup? Well, if you're trying to avoid gluten and/or animal products, it's pretty tricky to get a decent minestrone soup unless you make it yourself. Most of them contain wheat pasta (sometimes egg-based) and have hidden nasties like milk powder and palm oil. 

There are gluten-free pastas available, but usually they don't hold up well in a soup. And, since I like to eat whole foods wherever possible, pastas are a bit too processed for my liking.

So here's a recipe for a satisfying vegan and gluten-free minestrone - without pasta. 

1 onion, diced (optional. I also have used a leek, if onions are too strong)
2 medium or 1 large carrot, diced
1 large stalk of celery, diced
Half to 1 cup cabbage, chopped
3 large potatoes, diced
5 large tomatoes, diced (or one 400gram tin of tomatoes)
A tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 chilli, minced (optional)
1-2 cups hot water

In a large soup pot, sauté onions (or leeks), celery, carrots, potato, and chilli and garlic (if using) until the onions are translucent. You can sauté in a teaspoon of oil, but I find that water sautéing works just fine. 

Add tomatoes and dried herbs, and add 1-2 cups of water until all vegetables are covered. You may need more water if you have a really big soup pot.

Simmer until potatoes are almost soft, and then add chopped cabbage. I like to add the cabbage towards the end of cooking so that it still has a little texture, but it can always be added in the first step with the other vegetables.

Salt isn't necessary with this soup, because the tomatoes add quite a lot of salty flavour. If you do add salt, be cautious because it is really easily to over-salt.

To serve: Add a few sprigs of parsley and a bit of cracked black pepper right before eating. 

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