It might be Spring, but despite the daffodils & cherry blossom peeping out, we still have freezing cold rains & blustery days which call for warming soups and stews. However, we're also craving freshness & zing, which is where this delicious Vegan Spring Greens Minestrone Soup with its bright sprinkle of Gremolata is perfect!
Despite the modern tendency to have almost every ingredient available all year round, we still crave seasonal produce. And right now what is available are the last of the root vegetables that have been stored over winter. Carrots, parsnips & onions are all delivered weekly in our veggie boxes, and still provide us with comforting flavours & heft for late winter & early spring cooking.
However, it's not all grim, bright notes from citrus & fresh stalks of herbs are also coming into play, whilst great bunches of Spring Greens, which resemble a loose collection of cabbage-type leaves are plentiful and fresh at the market. These bright greens are the perfect way to add some seasonal green to brighten up an otherwise root and bean-based minestrone soup.
I like to make a huge batch of the basic root vegetable minestrone soup, caramelising the onions carefully in lots of good olive oil, before adding carrots & parsnips & cooked beans (cannellini for preference, however any bean works). This then all gets simmered with herbs and stock until rich & gently flavourful. The greens get added in to quickly cook a few minutes before serving. That way they retain their desirable bright green-ness.
If you're wanting to keep some of this Spring Minestrone soup to serve later, make sure to put it aside to store before you add the greens for serving. Once the greens get cooked twice they become an unappetizing khaki colour which isn't the desired effect! Then all you do is when reheating the soup, add the greens you like! (You can use any seasonal green veggie, not just Spring Greens. Kale, Broccoli Florets or cabbage all work just as well!)
My final note is to not forget to try the Gremolata to sprinkle over! Making it couldn't be easier, as it's simply lemon zest, finely chopped garlic & parsley, but oh my goodness does it add a wonderful and much welcome spring flavour! It's amazing what a few simple ingredients can do to liven up what could be quite an ordinary plate of soup!
A warming & uplifting soup that's perfect for blustery days!
- 1 onion large. Or 2 small
- 3 carrots
- 4 parsnips
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 150 ml white wine
- 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 3 tsp vegetable stock powder or boullion
- 1.5 ltre water
- 200 g spring greens, cabbage or kale
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tbsp parsley
- zest of one lemon
Finely dice the onion & in a large pan sweat it slowly until it caramelises. (This creates a lovely rich flavour, so be sure to not miss out this bit!)
Meanwhile, finely dice the parsnips and carrots.
Add the parsnips and carrots to the pot and stir. Cook these in the oil for 10 minutes to help bring out their flavours
Add the wine & stir until it starts to absorb into the carrots and parsnips
Add the herbs, stock powder and water. Simmer slowly for at least half an hour.
Chop the Spring Greens (or whatever green you are using) and just before serving, stir into the soup & let simmer for a few minutes. You want them to retain their vibrant greeness.
Serve immediately & sprinkle with gremolata for added zing & flavour.
Finely mince the garlic, zest the lemon and very finely chop the parsley. .
Mix together and sprinkle on soups, pasta or anything dish that needs a bright lift.
Want something easy to go with your Vegan Spring Greens Minestrone Soup ? Why not try making these super simple flatbreads.