Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

So yeah. What possessed me to seek out this recipe, I'm not quite sure. Other than that I had Olive Garden Minestrone Soup once when I was out with my grandma (only once), and I liked it. Granted, most of Olive Garden's food tastes uber-processed and uber-Americanized, but hell, once in a while, it used to be a guilty pleasure to go there because (as anyone in their right mind knows) their salad dressing rocks out (but unfortunately has eggs AND cheese in it--*sigh*). As a vegan, however, Olive Garden is a no-no, since pretty much all their pasta noodles have eggs in them.

So, although I've only had their minestrone once and thus can't attest to the accuracy of the recipe I'm posting below, I *LIKE* the recipe below (and those who've commented on the recipe on various sites have said it tastes like the real thing). It's a hearty and warm winter soup. It's also a bit salty, so I took out the 1.5 teaspoons of salt the original recipe calls for (the veggie broth and all those canned beans and tomatoes will give you a MORE than generous helping of high blood pressure, thank you very much). Despite the fairly large amount of ingredients, it doesn't take long to make. And it yields a large amount of soup. (I've had enough for generous lunches all week, plus some.)

So yeah: boobs. (Sorry--hadn't said anything naughty thus far, so it felt necessary.) And also: try it out. Worth your while.

  • 3 T. olive oil

  • 1 c. minced white onions (about 1 small onion)

  • 1/2 c. chopped zucchini

  • 1/2 c. frozen cut italian green beans

  • 1/4 c. minced celery (about 1/2 stalk)

  • 4 t. minced garlic (about 4 cloves)

  • 4 c. vegetable broth

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans small white beans or great northern beans, drained

  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1/2 c. carrots, julienned or shredded

  • 2 T. minced fresh parsley

  • 1.5 t. dried oregano

  • 1/2 t. ground black pepper

  • 1/2 t. dried basil

  • 1/4 t. dried thyme

  • 3 c. hot water

  • 4 c. fresh baby spinach

  • 1/2 c. small shell pasta


Heat three tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.

Saute onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini in the oil for 5 minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent.

Add vegetable broth to pot, plus drained tomatoes, beans, carrot, hot water, and spices.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency.

Makes about eight 1.5 cup servings.

(Recipe from Recipezaar)

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