My 4 year old son Ben loves to play hide and seek. As a matter of fact, we played hide and seek while I prepared this soup.
However, he hasn’t quite grasped the concept of hiding yet. But, he makes up for his lack in hiding skills with enthusiasm for the game. When it’s his turn to go hide, he runs down the hall squealing with laughter. He’ll yell, “OKAY FIND ME!!!” Of course this totally gives away his hiding spot.
He gets so tickled when he hears my feet walking through the house, pretending to look for him. “Where are you?!” I call out. At this point, he can’t even contain his giggles. I usually find him standing in the center of his room, the world’s biggest grin on his face. “You found me!”
I love recipes like this spicy vegan minestrone. It’s dependable, and it requires only partial attention. Thus, I can concentrate more heavily on hide and seek.
To be honest, on days that feel longer than others, this is all I really want to do as the day draws to an end. I love how this does not require a ton of energy or effort – I can almost make it in my sleep. It is super easy. As much as I love cooking, I have those days where I would rather play with my kids, talk to Josh, catch up with friends, etc.
Additionally, this recipe makes a TON of soup, it freezes really well, and it’s great for a crowd too. It hits all the checkboxes – it’s fresh, quick, easy, abundant (in quantity), and pleasing to all crowds.
This is also a pretty versatile recipe. You can play with the ingredients and not risk losing any flavor. In fact, adding seasonal, fresh vegetables to the soup would add some nice, complementary dimensions of flavor to it. For example, I imagine okra would work well in this. This is a soup for all seasons that can adapt to vegetables, herbs, spices, and flavors that are in season.
Spicy Vegan Minestrone
- 32oz box of vegetable broth (or the same amount of homemade veggie broth)
- Two 26oz boxes of chopped tomatoes (I used Pomi) – you could also use canned chopped tomatoes here
- 15oz can of black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 15oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup of dry elbow pasta**
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 5-6 cloves of garlic minced
- 4 small carrots peeled and chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped (I throw the celery leaves in the soup too)
- 8oz package of sliced mushrooms (I use baby bella, but any variety would be great!)
- 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon of fresh thyme (plus a bunch more for garnishing the minestrone)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4-5 dried red Thai Bird chilies*, roughly chopped
- juice from 1/2 lemon (taste it after adding 1/2, and add more lemon juice if desired)
*Dried red Thai Bird chilies can be found in the international foods section of most grocery stores and some farmers markets. They pack a spicy punch. Don’t leave them out.
**An easy way to make this soup gluten-free is to use a gluten-free pasta here. There are tons of great options available these days. Just make sure not to overcook your gluten-free pasta. Some of those brown rice pastas can get pretty mushy if you overcook them even just ever so slightly.
Ok! On with the recipe. In a large soup pot heat the EVOO on medium heat. Add the onions to the hot pan and cook for 5-10 minutes, then add in the garlic and cook for a few minutes more. Don’t you love the way onion and garlic smell after they’ve cooked for a few minutes in a hot pan?! One of my favorites! Ok, now add the carrots and celery and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Next add to your pot the veggie broth, tomatoes, black eyed peas, cannellini beans, sliced mushrooms, fresh thyme, oregano, and red Thai bird chilies. Give the pot a good stir, turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
While the soup is simmering bring a separate pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta in salted water for about 3-4 minutes less than the package directions. You don’t want the pasta to be fully cooked, otherwise it will be mushy in your minestrone. Make sure to reserve at least a cup or more of pasta water to add back to the soup! Don’t forget this step (If you do forget to keep some of the pasta water, as I have many times, don’t worry. You can just add water with a little salt).
Now drain the pasta and add it back to the simmering soup. Also pour 1/3-1 cup of pasta water back into the pot of minestrone, depending on how thick you want it. Simmer for at least another minute or two. Lastly, squeeze half a lemon into the soup. Taste it. Revel in your culinary achievement (yes I do consider something as simple as soup to be a culinary achievement! Especially soup this tasty). Then determine if you need to add the other half of the lemon juice and or more salt. Enjoy!