A hearty, healthy, and tasty soup; makes a perfect weeknight dinner with enough to freeze for a day when you’re too busy to cook. With the Italian trick of cooking a bit of parmesan cheese rind in the soup for added flavor and the variety of vegetables, this minestrone surpasses the bland bean & pasta versions as a palate-pleaser.
Serves 10 (adapted from an October, 2007 Sunset recipe) Simply leave out the cheese rind and grated parmesan to make this vegan : )
1 bunch Swiss chard, rinsed thoroughly
1 can (14½ oz.) no-salt added diced tomatoes
2 cans (14½ oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, divided
1 can (14½ oz.) chick peas (garbanzo beans)
2 T. olive oil 4 cloves garlic minced 2 carrots, peeled and diced into ¼” pieces
1 med. zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into ¼” pieces
2 c. shredded savoy, or green cabbage
3-4 inch parmesan cheese rind
5 c. reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut stems from Swiss Chard leaves by making a V-shaped cut along the length of the stem on each side. Finely chop the stems and cut the leaves into ribbons and set aside separately.
- Using a hand-blender (or regular blender if you don’t have one of these), add ½ cup of water to the drained beans from one can and puree.
- Cook olive oil and garlic in a large soup pot over med-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add carrots, zucchini, chopped chard stems. Cook, stirring, until veggies are softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 c. water and cabbage. Cook, stirring, another 2-3 minutes until cabbage is wilted.
- Add broth, chard leaves, remaining cannellini beans, cannelloni puree, chick peas, and parmesan rind. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a steady simmer. Cover and cook until flavors are blended and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Serve hot, topped with shredded fresh parmesan.