Monday, December 16, 2013

Minestrone Soup with Bacon

I don't know why it's taken me so long to try a minestrone soup, because I made one today and it was awesome! Since this month has been so cold, I've been loving my soups. And while I have the tried and true, I am always searching for new recipes because I get bored easily. My taste buds demand new and yummy flavors and my tummy demands a hearty and satisfying meal. Well this soup meets all those requirements!

Lots of minestrone soups are made with pasta, but I omitted that to keep it lighter...and then I added in bacon! I am a bacon addict. This can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon, and can be personalized with various vegetables. I've seen other recipes with celery, carrots, green beans, etc., but keep in mind that since this is a relatively quick cooking soup things don't break down as much as in longer cooking recipes (which is why I didn't add any celery or carrots).

This is definitely going into my permanent soup rotation! Sigh, why can't I just stay at home with my pugs during these cold winter days, making yummy soup and bread, instead of going to work? At least this is quick and easy enough that I can make it on any weekday once I get home.

Servings: 5-6 (though for me this is a 2-3 mealer)

Cooking spray or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 slices bacon, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
12-16 ounces kale, swiss chard, or collard greens, stalks removed and leaves chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 (15 ounce) cans of white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1-2 cups water
Grated Parmesan and chopped parsley for topping (optional)


  • Heat Dutch oven over medium heat and either spray with cooking spray or heat 1 tsp of olive oil.
  • Add 1 chopped onion, 2-4 chopped slices of bacon, 2 tsp garlic, and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook for 6-7 minutes until onion softens and bacon browns.
  • Add 2 tbsp tomato paste and stir into onion mixture until everything is well coated. 
  • Add 12-16 oz of hearty greens, 1/2 tsp thyme, and 1 tsp of red pepper flakes.
  • Stir everything together for 4-5 minutes as the greens should start to wilt.
  • Add 2 cans of white kidney beans. If you like a thicker soup, either mash some of the beans before adding, or once in the Dutch oven use a spoon to mash some of the beans.
  • Add 1 can of diced tomatoes, with juice, 4 cups of vegetable broth, and 1-2 cups of water (depending on how many greens you added and how hearty or brothy you like your soup).
  • Bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the greens are tender.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • For serving, sprinkle a little bit of chopped parsley and grated Parmesan on each bowl. This goes great with some nice crusty bread!
Now for the pics!  

Look at Rosy. She looks like she's thinking, "Mmmm that smells so good! I can smell the bacon!"
Rosy tries different begging tactics but Sunny always does the pathetic sit by the fridge.
Love the sprinkling of Parmesan and parsley! I hate chopping herbs but I find that chopped parsley is a fantastic topping on most soups and pastas.
Begging eyes and tails down!
I like negating any healthy benefits of my soups by adding bacon and cheese. Bacon and cheese on everything!!!
Now mix it all together. One of my favorite things about cheese in soup is how it gets stuck on the spoon and so when you scrape it with your teeth you get a nice saucy, hot concentrated jolt of cheese!
And there goes Rosy's tongue.
Ack and there goes Sunny's tongue! She was too quick for me this time! Luckily she didn't get any soup, just bowl. She was super disappointed afterwards that the smell of the soup didn't match with the taste of bowl.
Ok time for me to eat!
Hey leave it alone! This is for me!
I had dropped a little bit of the Parmesan on the floor and Rosy quickly licked it all up. Then as I ate, she would periodically return to the kitchen and lick the same spot over and over again, trying to get every last crumb and hoping that some more cheese would magically appear. She's a cheese monster!
Can't blame her. Cheese is gooooood.

Adapted from Martha Stewart.