I don't know about you but I am sooo ready for winter to be over. The snow, the cold, the 45 minutes it takes to get the kids in full winter gear! Remind me why we live in Canada again? One redeeming factor for me...a warm hearty soup. Nothing tops off a cold day like that! And today you are in for a treat as I have asked my amazing sister Liz to do a guest post and share the recipe for her minestrone soup with Italian sausage...so yummy!
Minestrone Soup Recipe- Liz Martineau
I love soups in the winter time. I usually make a giant batch of this minestrone, and have leftovers for the rest of the week. I really enjoy the addition of the sausage, as it makes it super flavourful and hearty, and yet it is also jammed packed full of vegetables so doesn't leave you feeling heavy or bloated after eating it. I change up the vegetables I use, depending on what is in season, and what I am in the mood for, so feel free to add or omit as you like. My current favourites are the squash and cabbage. This is one of my kids favourite meals, especially if I serve it with a crusty baguette.
3 cups onions, diced
3 cups carrots, diced
3 cups celery, diced
3 cups squash, diced
3 cups cabbage, chopped thinly
2 cups zucchini, diced
2-3 handfuls fresh spinach
2 tbsp olive oil
12 oz ground italian sausage
6 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
Step 1. Add olive oil to pot. Heat over medium heat. Once heated, add onions, celery and carrots, stirring every few minutes. Saute until onions translucent and carrots and celery starting to soften, approx 10 min.
Step 2. Add the squash. Cook for another 5 minutes, until squash starts to soften.
Step 3. Push all the vegetables to one side of the pot, and add the sausage to the other side of the pot to brown. Once sausage is mostly cooked, then can mix everything all together. There will be a bit of colour starting on some of the vegetables, and at the bottom of the pot.
Step 4. Add the cabbage and zucchini. Cook until the cabbage just starts to soften.
Step 5. Add the stock. The amount you use may vary depending on how thick you prefer your soup.
Step 6. Just before serving, add spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep in mind that the sausage will add some salt, so you may not need as much as you would expect.
There are so many ways to change up this soup, and make it your own. One variation you can try would be making it vegetarian. Just omit the sausage, and use vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock. You can also add a can of navy beans or pinto beans to make it a bit more filling. To increase the flavour, add a parmesan cheese rind into the soup while it cooks. It gives such a wonderful flavour.
Another option is to add pasta to the soup. A lot of minestrone soup recipes call for pasta, however, since I usually make a large batch, so I can have leftovers, I don't usually put the pasta, as I find it doesn't handle the reheating well. Enjoy!