Grandma’s Minestrone Soup
This was one of my grandmother’s favorite Italian soup recipes. This was her version of it, although traditionally minestrone soup doesn’t have beef or turkey added to it. Her recipe contained mainly vegetables, beans, and pasta! My grandmother made it this way so that it would be more hearty for her family which included 3 growing boys (my father and his brothers). She didn’t feel it was enough to satisfy their large appetites with just beans. I remember her house always smelled of home cooking whenever anyone would visit. She lived in a large multi-family tenement home back then. And, between her and other Italian women living in the same building, it would always smell of multiple recipes as you entered the hallway. It smelled like “Little Italy,” as it was known as back then. No wonder that when people enter my home today, they say the same thing. My house always smells like home cooking, and as if they’ve come home. Something I learned well from my family was this: always welcome everyone who enters your home with hospitality and love. I hope you enjoy my grandmother’s minestrone soup made, as she always said, “With lots of love.” I think that was mostly because she never measured anything! She was just intuitive and smart.
4 cups of Vegetable stock
2 – 14.5 oz. cans of stewed tomatoes
1 large potato cubed
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 lb. ground turkey
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 – 15 oz. can of dark red kidney beans
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 small zucchini, sliced
3 carrots, sliced and chopped
1 cup of gluten-free pasta (spirals work well), uncooked
1 large head of cabbage (or you can substitute with collard greens) finely chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste (I rarely add extra salt, there’s enough sodium in the cans of tomatoes). But to your liking!
1). In a large soup pot stir fry the onions, ground turkey, and garlic in olive oil.
Note: I find that when I use lean ground turkey, there isn’t much fat. So, I don’t usually strain the ground turkey. If you do, you may find it to be too dry.
2) Add the vegetable stock, undrained cans of tomatoes, potato, celery, carrots, cabbage (or collard greens), and Italian seasoning. Bring it to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes.
3). Stir in beans, corn, zucchini, and pasta. Simmer an additional 15 minutes, more or less until the vegetables are tender, but not mushy. Season with salt and pepper if you choose.
One variation I like to do is add green beans also. I like to add as many vegetables as I can for nutrition reasons and taste. You will find that this recipe is a nice spicy soup with real Italian flavor and authenticity. So lastly, just top with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. You can serve it with a gluten-free corn bread or some nice gluten-free Italian bread (either made from scratch, or there are some nice gluten-free mixes). I use Bob’s Red Mill® brand gluten-free cornbread mix.