Color and lightness are the themes in this Italian vegetable soup, which is a variation on the classic minestrone.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium-sized onion, minced
- 1 medium-sized stalk celery, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 large carrot, diced
- About 10 large mushrooms (white or cremini), minced or sliced
- A handful or two fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram (or 1 tablespoon fresh, if available)
- 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 to 3 stalks ruby chard, chopped (include stems, but keep them separate)
- 2 small (6-inch) zucchini, diced or sliced
- 1/2 cup (packed) minced fresh basil leaves
- 1 15-ounce can navy or pea beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges
- Top with Walnut-Parmesan Crisps
- Heat the olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the mushrooms, green beans, garlic, oregano or marjoram, and another 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for a few minutes more, then cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Add the chard stalks, and sauté for a minute or two. Add the broth, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the chard leaves, zucchini, basil, and beans, and add black pepper to taste. Cover the pot, remove from heat, and let the soup sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, accompanied by lemon wedges and Walnut-Parmesan Crisps. Encourage your guests to squeeze some lemon juice into each serving.
- Note: This soup keeps for several days and reheats very well, as long as you don't boil or otherwise overcook it. It also freezes well if stored in a tightly lidded container.