We eat a lot of soup at our house. During the height of winter, you can find it on our dinner menu at least two to three times a week. But I am also one of those people who will happily enjoy it all year round – I just tweak it a bit to make it appropriate for the season.
Which is where recipes like this spring minestrone come into play. It’s light yet still hearty, making it perfect for all the back and forth weather that seems to characterize this time of the year.
And today’s recipe is packed to the brim with many of my spring favorites – fresh asparagus, peas, arugula, lemon! And then some more classic minestrone flavors like carrots, zucchini, diced tomatoes, and of course, a bit of pasta. It’s filled with flavor and perfect for dunking some crusty bread, which equals a fantastic meal in my book.
Now, when shopping for asparagus for this recipe, try to find a bunch that is medium-sized in terms of thickness. If your asparagus is really large and fat, it will take longer to get tender in the soup (same goes if it is really skinny – it will cook quicker than the time indicated).
One final thing to keep in mind with this soup – the pasta does soak up some of the broth as it sits. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it won’t be quite as brothy when it comes to leftovers. If desired, you can always add in a splash more broth when reheating.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 large carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium zucchini chopped
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 28 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup uncooked elbow pasta or another small pasta shape
- 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 pound asparagus ends trimmed and cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups lightly packed baby arugula
- Juice of half a medium lemon
- Add the olive oil to a large stockpot or dutch oven set over medium heat. When hot, add in the onion and carrots, and cook for about 5 minutes, under tender. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the zucchini, broth, tomatoes, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture just to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the veggies are tender.
- Add in the elbow pasta, the chickpeas, asparagus and peas, and continue to simmer, adjusting the heat as needed, for an additional 7 to 9 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Add in the arugula and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve as desired.