Autumn Minestrone Soup

Autumn Minestrone Soup is classic minestrone soup with winter squash, kale and hearty farro instead of pasta!

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Happy Fall!  I’m so excited that it’s officially my favorite time of year.  Time to roll out the red carpet for pumpkin (as if I haven’t already), apple, pear, winter squash, kale, and so many more of my faves.  

It’s still hot here, but I was bound and determine to make an autumn inspired soup for today.  I was sweating bullets when I ate it, but I finally got my soup. πŸ™‚

I’ve really been craving soups and chili despite the heat here, and seeing so many great recipes out there for cold weather food has not been helping.  

I’m not complaining about our beautiful weather here in CA, I just wish it was a smidge cooler.  

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Autumn Minestrone Soup

I love minestrone soup because it’s so hearty, but quite honestly, getting a good minestrone can be tough.  I like mine loaded with veggies and beans, but I don’t care for a lot of potato or pasta.  

This autumn minestrone soup is jam packed with veggies, but it’s not vegetarian.  I added pancetta, because I love the meaty flavor that it lends.  For even more flavor, I added fresh thyme, crushed rosemary, and a bay leaf, along with a chunk of parmesan cheese rind.  

It’s time to talk about my love of kabocha squash.  Last year I made Kabocha Squash mashed potatoes and Pumpkin Soup, and just fell in love with the stuff.  

Perhaps you’ve seen the small, dark green pumpkins and wondered what they were?  That’s kabocha squash.  Basically it’s a pumpkin, but it’s somewhat starchy like potato, which makes it perfect in mash and soups.

kabocha squash

It can be a bit hap-hazard trying to cut it, but it can be done with a good, sharp knife.  I normally place it on a cutting board right side up, and cut from the top middle, down the side, away from myself.  

You can work your way around the other side and crack it open pretty easily.  Scoop out the seeds, cut each half into 4-5 large wedges, lay them on their sides, and cut the peel off from top to bottom.  

It takes about 10-15 minutes, but I promise you, you’re going to love this stuff!  If you’re not comfortable messing around with that, you can always substitute it for butternut squash or sweet potato.

I thought it would be fun to swap the pasta out altogether and go with a nice, hearty grain.  Farro is just that, and it’s nutritious and it has very low gluten content.  I love it’s nuttiness, and it was a delicious addition to the autumn flavors.  

If you don’t have farro and you’re gluten intolerant, you could substitute rice, quinoa, or even gluten free pasta — just bear in mind the cooking time for different grains will vary.  If you don’t follow a gluten free diet, pearl barley or pasta are great substitutes.

If you’re looking for a healthy way to ring in fall, this is it.  Serve it with freshly grated parmesan and your favorite side, and you’ve got yourself a meal that will give you that warm, cozy feeling from the inside out.  Here’s to fall! πŸ™‚

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Craving more soup?  Try these soup recipes:

Serve Autumn minestrone with these side dishes:

Focaccia bread

Butternut squash cornbread muffins

Skillet cornbread

Sweet potato biscuits

Autumn Minestrone Soup {GF}

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Autumn Minestrone Soup is classic minestrone soup with winter squash, kale and hearty farro instead of pasta!

Autumn Minestrone Soup {GF}

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, coarsely chopped into 1/4" pieces
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, and coarsely chopped into 1/4" pieces
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta (I used packaged diced pancetta)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups kabocha squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2" cubes*
  • 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with their juice, roughly chopped (I used San Marzano)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed with your fingers
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup farro
  • (1) 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • (1) 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch of kale, tough stems removed and chopped*
  • 1" piece of parmesan cheese rind
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and pancetta, and cook until the onions are translucent and the vegetables have softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and sautΓ© 30 seconds. Add the kabocha squash and sautΓ© 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Add the farro and cook about 10 minutes. Add the beans, kale, and parmesan cheese rind, and simmer about 10-15 more minutes, or until the farro is cooked. Remove the cheese rind, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve garnished with freshly grated parmesan cheese, and enjoy!

Notes

  • Total time above includes 10 minutes to break down a whole kabocha squash. The kabocha squash may be substituted with butternut squash or sweet potato.
  • Make this soup vegetarian by omitting the pancetta and substituting the chicken stock with vegetable stock.
  • The farro may be substituted with gluten free pasta. quinoa or rice, but the cooking time may vary. If you don't follow a gluten free diet, regular pasta or pearl barley would be great substitutions as well.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 324 Total Fat: 10g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 11mg Sodium: 675mg Carbohydrates: 44g Fiber: 10g Sugar: 10g Protein: 16g
Nutrition information is mean to be an estimate only. The numbers will vary based on the quantity consumed, brands used and substitutions that are made.

 

 

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