Green Minestrone Soup

This is a take on the regular tomato based minestrone soup, but is a little lighter and fresher. It has plenty of green or ‘Verde’ vegetables, making it very nutritious.
This recipe will also double well.
The herb dressing also works well with chicken or fish.
Pecorino cheese is like parmesan, in that it is cooked and aged, reducing the lactose content. It is made from ewes or sheep’s milk rather than cow’s milk, which is naturally lower in lactose than cow’s milk. It is traditionally produced and used in the southern and central Italian regions.

4 Serves

1 leek, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
Fresh sprigs of rosemary, thyme and bay leaves
4 inner stalks celery, finely diced, pale yellow leaves reserved for garnish
1 small fennel bulb diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 bunch broccolini, sliced crossways 1cm
1 bunch cavolo nero (black kale) centre stalk removed, sliced crossways 1cm
1 large handful green beans, sliced crossways 1cm
4 stalks asparagus, sliced 1 cm crossways
1 400g tin organic cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup gluten free penne pasta
1.5 L vegetable or chicken stock
1 lemon zest and juice
½ bunch basil, leaves picked
½ bunch parsley, leaves picked
½ bunch mint, leaves picked
1 tbsp. pinenuts, toasted
½ tbsp. capers
2 tbsp. olive oil

Grated pecorino cheese and toasted crusty bread, optional to serve

1. Sweat leek and garlic, with some salt and pepper in olive oil for 5 minutes.
2. Add herbs, celery, a continue to sweat for a few minutes.
3. Add stock, and fennel, bring to a low simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile process herbs capers and pine nuts in a food processer, adding olive oil in a steady stream. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
5. Add all green vegetables, cannellini beans and pasta to soup and simmer for 10 minutes, or till vegetables and pasta tender.
6. Remove herb stalks from soup, and add lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
7. To serve, ladle soup into warm bowls. Swirl herb pesto generously over the soup. Sprinkle with celery heart leaves and pecorino if using. Serve bread of choice on the side.

This soup recipe is an excerpt from the new Gaia cookbook supplement of 20+ recipes. The supplement is due to be released this winter, and will slot into the existing Gaia cookbook ‘Gratitude’. The soup easy to make, very nutritious and great for the colder months.