Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spring Minestrone Soup


May is a confusing time for us Mainers. The days fill up with leftover April showers, the smell of fresh-cut grass is in the air, birds begin chattering/bragging up a storm about the beefy worms they are finding, and us Mainers enter the period of spring confusion. We're ready for summer because the last official day of winter has passed. We even try to wear our shorts and bathing suits on 55 degree days, just to convince ourselves that it is, in fact, getting warmer and that summer is right around the corner.
"Maybe if I wear some flip-flops today, or crack the windows, I won't notice it's raining and feels like, well...55 degrees." I have this train of thought daily in the spring, and usually I just get chilled and cranky, and then accept (for at least the rest of the day, and usually start over again the next) that it is still too cold to be summer. But that does mean one neat thing: I can still sneak a comforting, winterish dish into the dinner menu without feeling like it is out of place.

I am an avid follower of the food blog SimplyRecipes. I was searching for spring dishes one rainy afternoon when I came across SR's Spring Minestrone Soup. I thought, "How cool! It's the best of both worlds: springy but still a nice, warm soup." SR's recipes have never failed me, so I set out to make this soup that evening and it was just perfect! I love that it has more unusual vegetables in it than your classic minestrone- artichoke hearts, chickpeas, asparagus...and the best part is, you swirl pesto into it at the end!!!
YES PLEASE, CAN I GET A "SWIRLY PESTO?" I have no idea what that is, But.It.Is EXCITING!


Spring Minestrone Soup
(see SimplyRecipe's original recipe here: Spring Minestrone Soup)
(Serves 4-6)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped (separate whites and light greens from green tops)
  • 2 lg garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb baby potatoes, or Yukon gold potatoes, cut into size you'd prefer in your soup
  • 15 oz diced tomatoes (or make your own! I promise, it's quick!)
  • 2 c. vegetable stock
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • salt
  • 8 oz artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 15 oz chickpeas (canned and drained)
  • 1 c. peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 8 oz asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 c. greens, sliced into thin ribbons (I have used both Swiss chard and kale, but you could also use dandelion greens, spinach, arugula, etc.)
  • 1/c. pesto (try this recipe!)
  • grated parmesan


In a large pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the white parts of the green onion and the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
Add the potatoes, stir to combine and cook 1 minute.

Add the diced tomatoes with their liquid, the vegetable stock and chicken stock. Add salt to taste, bring to a simmer then lower to med-low heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the artichoke hearts, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the chickpeas and green peas, cover again, and cook 5 minutes more.

Add the asparagus. Cook, uncovered, 2 minutes.
Add the greens and the green parts of the onions. Stir well to combine and cook 1 minute.

Turn off the heat and stir in the pesto.


Top each serving with freshly grated parmesan.
Happy spring cookin'!