I'm trying to keep up the rhythm of a recipe each week... this one is fast, simple, and flexible. Sort of like me :)
This is a "oh my gosh, it's 4pm, I don't know what I'm making for dinner and I don't want to spend money eating out" dinner
EASY MINESTRONE SOUP
1 small onion, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup baby carrots, sliced into rounds or strips (I hate carrots, so I don't usually put these in)
1 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
1/2 cup fresh spinach, cut into strips (or whole leaf frozen) (I've used cabbage or kale as well)
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks (optional)
1 small can beans: pink, kidney, or white (or garbanzo beans)
1 15-oz can stewed tomatoes (I buy these in 12-packs @ Costco to always have on hand)
1 can vegetable broth
1/3 cup barley (or tiny elbow macaroni, or quinoa)
1 tbsp olive oil
Spices to taste (oregano, bay, basil, salt, a bit o' hot sauce, caraway seeds…)
On high heat, saute the onions and carrots in cooking spray a few minutes, stirring often. When onions begin to turn transparent, add the zucchini (and peppers) and quit stirring. Allow the zucchini to brown slightly.
Add the broth, the stewed tomatoes (undrained) and the beans (undrained). Add barley. Bring to a boil and simmer until grain is cooked. Add spinach when soup is nearly done, so it does not overcook.
This soup lasts well but thickens over time. To keep the proportions working, add more broth or stewed tomatoes. Serve with toast on the side, or if there is enough broth, tear up bread and put it in the soup.