A Magical Minestrone With Farro & Chia Pesto
There's some foods I will pretty much never say no to.
Avocado toast is obviously one, oven-baked sweet potato fries is another, and minestrone soup is a solid third. Whenever I see vegetable-based minestrone on the menu at a restaurant,
I absolutely have to have it — it’s like a go-to uniform for my taste buds that they just always feel comfortable hanging around in.
I also love that you can make minestrone tens of thousands of ways. When I was writing Superfood Soups, minestrone was an easy soup to put on the to-do recipe list, and it was fun saturating the classic recipe with extra-beneficial superfoods. Now that the holidays have set in, this is an ideal soup to have on hand — a great make-ahead recipe that’s both light yet satisfying, and full of everything your body craves on the increasingly cold winter nights.
MINESTRONE WITH FARRO & CHIA PESTO
Instead of using pasta in this recipe, I like to use farro, an ancient, delightfully chewy relative of wheat. Use whole, not pearled, farro here—it adds a whopping 21 grams of protein! Cooking it with aromatic vegetables gives it a nice toasty flavor and firm texture. This soup really comes alive with Chia Pesto, so don’t skip this essential ingredient. Recipe adapted and reprinted with permission from Superfood Soups © 2016 by Julie Morris, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
MAKES 10 CUPS / 6 SERVINGS
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup dried goji berries
1 scoop Amazing Grass Detox & Digest (or use 1 teaspoon kelp granules)
8 cups miso broth, or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped small
2 carrots, cut into thin half moons
2 ribs celery, chopped small
3/4 cup dry farro
1 medium zucchini, chopped small
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (freshly cooked, or 1 15-ounce can, drained)
1/2 pound broccoli florets, chopped small (about 3 cups)
3 big leaves kale, ribbed and chopped small
1 batch Chia Pesto (recipe follows), or 1/2 cup store-bought pesto
In a blender, combine the tomato, goji berries, and kelp granules with 1/2 cup of broth. Blend until smooth.
Warm the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and farro, and cook, stirring often, for 6–7 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add the zucchini, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf, and cook for 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Stir in the blended tomato mixture, the remaining 7 1/2 cups of broth, the canned tomatoes with their juice, and the black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then partially cover, leaving the lid a little ajar, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Turn up the heat to medium, stir in the garbanzo beans and broccoli, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat, and mix in the kale. Let the soup stand for 5–10 minutes to let the kale fully wilt. Taste and add salt as desired. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and swirl in a tablespoon or two of Chia Pesto on top.
The bulky quality of chia seed “gel” (chia seeds that have been soaked in liquid) is a fabulous way of shaving off calories and upping the nutrient density in pesto, compared to the classic recipe. Aside from being outstanding in grain or squash soups, this special sauce can also be used for all kinds of pasta and roasted vegetable dishes. Recipe reprinted with permission from Superfood Soups © 2016 by Julie Morris, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
MAKES 1 CUP
1 tablespoon chia seeds
6 tablespoons water or vegetable broth
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
In a medium bowl, mix together the chia seeds and water. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to swell, stirring once or twice to break up any clumps.
In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, nutritional yeast, and salt. Blend until smooth. Scrape the pesto into the bowl with the chia seeds, and mix well to incorporate. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. Chia pesto will last up to 1 week, refrigerated.