Vegetable soup is one of my go-to meals when my boyfriend isn’t home for dinner. I like it a lot more than he does, for the most part. I decided to step up my game the other night and make minestrone soup, but with a twist… spicy minestrone soup! It was so good, and even better the next day. If it’s too spicy, add in more vegetable stock or use less of the scotch bonnet pepper. It gets even better when you eat it the next day and serve over a bed of fragrant jasmine rice. It takes time, but it’d be perfect for the fall or to cook in the crock pot. It’ll save time in the long run too, because you’ll have leftovers for a few days which is even more awesome. This wasn’t originally going to be posted, but it was too good not to share. The green lentils provide a hefty serving of protein (not to mention so do the veggies – yes, vegetables do have protein too) so this is a great vegan/vegetarian meal.
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp minced garlic
1 red onion, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium ideal)
2 cups strained tomatoes (low sodium)
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup dry green lentils
2 baby cucumbers, sliced
2 cups spinach, rinsed and chopped
1 jar of crushed tomatoes (we used home preserves, use store bought if needed – low sodium)
2 small russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup brown rice pasta (we used fusilli)
1 small scotch bonnet pepper (with seeds)
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 cup jasmine rice
cilantro, for garnish
1. In a large soup pot, sauté garlic in olive oil on medium heat for a minute or two. Add in onion and sauté for another minute or two. Next, add in the carrots and celery and sauté for a few more minutes.
2. Add vegetable broth and strained tomatoes – bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add in the lentils, potatoes, cucumber, crushed tomatoes, scotch bonnet pepper, spinach, oregano, basil, sea salt and pepper. At this point, add in the red wine too. Simmer for at least 40 minutes. No harm in cooking for longer, it’ll just taste even better.
3. Add in the brown rice pasta and simmer for another 15 minutes or longer.
4. Meanwhile, cook the jasmine rice according to instructions. Usually about 10 minutes or so.
5. If you want the soup to be thicker – let it simmer for longer and cover. Refrigerate overnight too, if you want. (So good the next day).
6. Create a bed of jasmine rice in a dish, pour the soup over top and garnish with fresh cilantro and black pepper.