vegan minestrone with tempeh

I feel like I should apologize for the lack of posts lately. There has been a lot of action in the kitchen, but not a lot of blogging about it. The problem as I see it, is that (a) I’m lazy, and (b) I do most of my cooking before my photographer gets home which means I’m lucky if I get one picture of the dish before we eat dinner. Don’t worry, I’ve come up with solutions to these problems. I need to not be lazy, and I just need to accept the fact that on some of my recipes, one photo (and probably an Instagram photo) will have to be enough. So this is me, not being lazy and blogging a dish when my photog is MIA.

In case you haven’t already figured it out, I’m of the mindset that a recipe is simply a suggestion of how to prepare a dish, and there is, almost always, room for improvisation. This recipe is a perfect example of a dish that can be tailored to fit your tastes, or what you have in your fridge, pantry or garden. Soup is one of those things that is really hard, though not impossible, to mess up. The absolute worst dish I have ever made was soup. I don’t remember what all it had in it, but I know kale was one of the ingredients. It was beyond fixing, and we ended up dumping the entire pot.

This soup is not a disaster. It’s my take on a classic Italian soup, and it’s delicious. Enjoy!

Vegan Minestrone with Tempeh

1/2 lb dried pasta, use whatever small pasta you have

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 white onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz tempeh, cubed

1 medium zucchini, diced

1/3 lb green beans, chopped into 1/2″ pieces

1 can petite diced tomatoes

1 can red kidney beans

6 c water

1 tsp fresh thyme

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped fine

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped fine, divided

2 bay leaves

salt

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent. Add the tempeh and cook for 5 more minutes until it starts to turn golden brown. Add the zucchini, green beans, diced tomatoes, beans and water. Stir to combine. Add the thyme, oregano 1 tbsp of basil and two generous pinches of salt and stir well. Let simmer for 30 minutes over medium low heat.

While the soup is simmering, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and set it aside until it’s time to serve the soup. Some recipes have you cook the pasta in the soup, but I prefer to cook it separately. By cooking it separately, I know it will not turn into overcooked mush in my soup.

Before serving the soup, taste it and add more salt if needed. To serve, put 1/2 cup of cooked pasta in the bottom of a bowl and ladle soup over the pasta. Top with remaining basil and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese, if desired.

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