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.