CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If February temperatures are anything like those at the end of January, enjoying a bowl of soup right now might be the ticket to contentment in dining.
This minestrone is hearty, no fuss, quick and easy. Using turkey Italian sausage, no-salt tomatoes and beans and natural goodness chicken broth can achieve a somewhat healthier version.
For a vegetarian mixture, omit sausage and use a half-pound of sliced squash, mushrooms, bell peppers, chopped cauliflower, corn or any desired vegetable or additional cooked bean -- split pea, lentil, black-eyed pea, chickpea, etc. -- as desired. I'd even toss in a little hominy when no one was looking. Swap vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
The recipe calls for cut fresh vegetables. Kroger used to carry a frozen mirepoix mix (diced carrot, celery and onion), which was truly a time saver. Sadly, it has been discontinued in our area, but may be available outside our Kroger region.
A search to find a replacement ensued, leading me to Foodland. I later discovered Fas-Chek carries the Essential Everyday brand, but I'm not certain if they carry that exact vegetable medley.
So if you don't want to chop your own aromatics for the soup, Kanawha City Foodland has a 16-ounce frozen Essential Everyday brand Stew Vegetables, consisting of potatoes with carrots, celery and onion. It's your call whether or not to include potatoes in the soup. Wouldn't hurt anything, except to add a few more carbs. If not, the frozen potatoes can easily be reserved for another use.
Makes 8 servings.
1/2 pound Italian sausage, loose pack or link
1 cup each chopped fresh carrot, onion and celery or 16-ounce bag frozen potatoes, carrots, onion and celery or 12-ounce bag Kroger brand frozen mirepoix