Ooh, my favorite!

Sick Day
January 27, 2010, 10:07 am
Filed under: Recipes | Tags:

After a whirlwind trip to Seattle this past weekend, I managed to pick up a nice little head cold.  Ugh, just thinking of all the microscopic monsters floating through the recirculated air is enough to make me cringe.  I’m seriously considering wearing a face mask next time, but feel that it may be a bit dramatic—not sure I want to deal with all of the crazy stares from other passengers.  Nevertheless, I had a great stay-at-home day and was able to catch up on some much needed sleep.

When we arrived home yesterday afternoon we walked down the street for some Pho.  It was definitely a Pho kind of day: cold, windy, rainy, with a dash of sniffles and a cough here and there.  Sadly, I realized that I’m not really able to enjoy it as much as I used to; all I can think about are the mounds of MSG I’m slurping up in every bite, I mean, no matter where you go, all Pho tastes pretty much the same, so that’s got to be the common thread, right?  So, since I had met my Pho quota for the month, I knew that if I wanted a nice hearty soup to round-out my perfect recovery day at home I’d have to make it myself.

The Goods

Luckily, I had everything I needed to make a great pot of Minestrone…thank goodness for the leftover veggies from detoxing last week!  They all needed to be used, so in the soup they went.  I make this soup often, and always switch-out a few of the veggies here and there depending what I have on hand: potatoes, cauliflower, and cabbage, are all great additions.  For me, this recipe is more about ease (especially on a sick day), so I don’t usually splurge with homemade stock here, but if you have some on hand, it would only make it better.

 Hearty Minestrone soup with Parmesan Croutons

Hearty Minestrone soup with Parmesan Croutons

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1/2 head of napa cabbage, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 – 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 – 16 oz. can Cannellini (white kidney beans)
  • 1 – 32 oz. organic low sodium chicken broth
  • Parmesan rind (about 2 square inches, or more!)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Mini french baguette, cubed
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus additional for topping
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat the oven to 350-degrees for the parmesan croutons.

2.  Add the oil to a large pot and heat over medium heat.  Add the onion and season lightly with salt and pepper.

3.  After the onions have cooked for a few minutes, and start to turn translucent add the carrots, fennel, and garlic and season with a touch more salt and pepper.

4.  After another few minutes, add the zucchini, continue to saute the vegetables. Have a taste, it should be tasty enough that you’d want to eat the veggies as they are.  If not, add another pinch of the salt.  (I’m adding touches of salt with each new addition so I can season each veggie and bring out its flavors.  Keep tasting to gauge how you prefer the seasoning.)

5.  Once the vegetables are lightly cooked-through, add the cannellini beans, and tomatoes.  Stir to incorporate, then add the organic low sodium chicken broth.

NOTE: If you are not using low sodium broth, be sure to cut back on the amount of salt you are using to season the veggies.

6.  Add the cayenne pepper and parmesan rind, stir to incorporate.

7.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover to simmer for at least 30 minutes.

For the parmesan croutons

1. While the soup is simmering, cube the french bread into 1-inch chunks and add to a baking sheet

2.  Drizzle the cubes with olive oil, then season with the grated parmesan, salt, and pepper.  Toss to coat evenly.

3.  Place in the oven on the top rack for about 10-15 minutes.

TIP: I’m notorious for forgetting about the bread, so I set the timer for 5 or 8 minute increments so I can remember to keep checking in.  Once you get to know your oven, you can set it less often.  No more burnt bread!


Ladle the soup into a bowl and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Add a few croutons and some additional parmesan grated lightly over the top. (My favorite tool for lightly grating parmesan is my handy microplane.)


–  Add some pasta stars or alphabet letters.

–  Top with homemade pesto.

–  Add small turkey meatballs if you’re sweetie needs something more substantial

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

My feedback is already in. Fantastic. This is a great start, Natira. And I feel really good adding the first comment to your blog.
Go Girl !!

Comment by Vivek

Hi there Natira….wayyyyy to go girl. I’ve looked around and its an amazing blog you created.
I surely will come back to read the hottest info:-))
Here is hoping that your days will be filled with love and laughter!

Comment by rita jackson

So glad you came by. Miss you Moses, Bo, and GPP lots and lots!

Comment by Natira

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