Let me start by telling you that this week you can find “me” at Vegan Miam. I was very happy about guest posting for Rika: she is the author of my favorite vegan food + travel blog. I only wish I was able to announce this earlier (I’ve been offline for a short holiday).
First thing I ate when I came back to London from Bosnia is this wonderful bowl of mixed beans and grains I got from Gordana. Bosnia, have I told you about? On Monday I landed in Zagreb, Croatia, to head straight to Sanski Most, a town in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina, located on the Sana River. Just so we’re clear, I’m speaking about the country that was hit by the worst floods in more than a century in May. The flood had very serious consequences you might have heard about.
The country is really beautiful and rural and I believe it deserves its own post. Keep checking this blog in the next few days to know more about my experience there (and to find out how I made honey without dealing with bees :)).
About this minestrone. It’s not really a soup, since it is pretty dense and thick. Do you ever feel like having a rustic dish where vegetables and grains make up a tasty main? I do, sometimes. Especially after I overindulge in cakes and delicious desserts.
Here’s how you can prepare an exquisite Tuscan minestrone. A rich recipe typical of the Tuscan cuisine, where fresh veggies such as carrots and tomatoes “live” together with legumes and cereals to deliver an outstandingly healthy dish.
Don’t eat this minestrone if you are NOT looking for a nutrient-rich dish and if you are NOT into a healthy, genuine and balanced diet. Or if you cannot keep your hands off french fries and grilled cheese sandwiches (in which case, don’t worry, you are still welcomed here. Hamburgers and French fries could be as addictive as heroin, scientists have claimed).
If you can, at least occasionally, focus on the fiber and nutritious content of your meals, you should definitely try this minestrone that is able to make you feel full for long. Its proteins of plant origin, unlike those from animals, help us reduce the intake of cholesterol and saturated fat.
Need I say more?
Something about its “vegan creaminess”, perhaps. Skipping the cheese on top to make this dish vegan will not alter the taste or the consistency. Creaminess is achieved by slow-cooking it with a finely chopped potato: the potato will dissolve releasing its starches in the liquid. Also, adding half a cup of soy milk in the last ten minutes of cooking will help make it smoother. This is genuine slow food (it takes more than an hour!) that comes with a wholesome and unsophisticated taste. Buon appetito!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 potato, diced
- 1 cup Soy milk
- 1 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1 large carrot, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- One 15-ounce tomato sauce
- 220 gr Tuscan Bean mix (containing Cannellini Beans, Borlotti Beans, Lentils, Peas and Pearl Barley (14%))
- Salt, basil and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- The previous evening, soak the beans in plenty of cold water.
- Change the water and bring slowly to the boil. Cook in plenty of water for approximately 40 minutes, until the beans are tender, then remove the excess water.
- In another pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato, potato, carrot, and stir frequently until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes (adding some water when needed).
- Transfer this mix to the pan containing the bean mix and stir in more water (if needed) and tomato sauce (I used passata). Cover, add peas and bring to a low boil until the legumes are done, about 30 minutes. Gradually add soy milk when the minestrone start to thicken and dry out.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in individual bowls and top with the Parmesan cheese and basil.