Take advantage of summer vegetables with this delicious sole minestrone! The addition of sole to this classic vegetable soup gives it lots of protein, and some pesto kicks in even more flavor. Carrots, zucchini, cabbage, celery, and potatoes provide lots of nutrients. This is a hearty soup that tastes delicious and covers all the bases. It is a full meal in one simmering pot.
Once again, necessity is the driving force behind a great meal. I had some sole that I needed to cook before it lost its freshness, and I also knew that I had to make something ahead of time that could be reheated quickly when we all got home and wanted dinner. I adapted this recipe from the Food and Wine website, and I am so glad I found it. The only ingredient I really changed was that I used great northern beans instead of pinto beans, and some of the amounts of the vegetables are slightly different. All the vegetables are fresh and in season right now, so that was a huge bonus, especially because I still have zucchini to use, and I am always happy to find ways to use it!
I have made minestrone countless times, but never with fish, and never with pesto, and I have to say I love this variation. For this soup, I made my own pesto, since we have a lovely little basil plant thriving in a pot, and because we love to have pesto on hand, but store-bought pesto would work too. The pesto, mixed with the mild flavor of the sole, takes this soup to a new level. And soup is good for the soul. (The poet in me cannot ignore the word play between sole and soul.) Both making soup and eating soup fulfills some kind of need for my spirit. With my kids starting back to school this week, this was the perfect way for me to nourish my family and myself through this transitional time. My son had three bowls it the minute he got home from his cross country practice!
It has been a little while since I last posted, and it is good to be back in this space. The month of August has been really full and a bit chaotic around here, but I have nothing to complain about. A trip to Grey County, Ontario is one of the highlights of this month, and I already miss that little A-frame cabin in the wooded valley, next to the clear, bubbling stream. We went to sleep with the sound of the stream flowing over the rocks, and woke to the sun streaming through the trees. The Georgian Bay, hiking trails, waterfalls, and huge hills and valleys enchanted us. Although Canada is not that far away from here, it does feel like a foreign country to me, and my family and I enjoyed every minute of it. Why is it that in general, Canadians seem so much more laid-back than Americans? I’m not sure I know the answer to that, but I tried to bring some of that relaxed approach to life back home with me.
My kids are already back in school, and though it is good, I also miss our summer life together. They are growing so quickly, and though we get on each other’s nerves sometimes like all families do, my husband and I treasured our time exploring new places and visiting familiar favorite places with them. I was talking recently with a friend about the passage of time, and she said, “the train just keeps on going!” We laughed, in a bittersweet kind of way, because it is true. We cannot seem to stop the train of time, or even get off for awhile. One minute the kids are in elementary school, the next minute they are starting junior high and high school.
I hope you are all having a great summer, and hope we can savor the last month of it! This is one of my favorite times of the year, as the sun stays warm, but is mellow, and the insects are so loud at night, they make it a very distinctive time of year. One evening not long ago, I stepped from inside my house out to the porch, and I felt like I was stepping into a whole different world, with the surprising humming and chirping of the various crickets, katydids and cicadas (and who knows what else! Luckily, my back porch is screened in.) I love that sound though, because it means the nights are still warm and summer is still here. Have a great weekend! It has been awhile since I joined Angie’s Fiesta Friday, and I look forward to catching up with some great food bloggers there as well!
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1/2 cup of onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
- 2 medium or 4 small potatoes, diced
- 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
- 1/4 head (or about 3/4 of a pound) of green cabbage, shredded
- 3 and 3/4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (I really like the Better than Bouillon broths)
- 1 can (15 ounces) of great northern beans or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 and 1/2 pounds of sole fillets, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons of pesto, homemade or store-bought
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
Wash all the vegetables and chop or dice them into about 1/4-inch pieces. Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, and potatoes. Cook, continuing to stir occasionally, for another 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cabbage and cook 5 more minutes, still stirring now and then.
Add the broth, beans, tomato paste, and salt. Bring just to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Continue to simmer, partially covered, about 18 minutes more, or until the vegetables are tender. While the vegetables are simmering, make the pesto (if using homemade) and cut the sole into 1 inch pieces. When the vegetables are tender, add the pesto, sole and the pepper. Cook, uncovered, about 1 to 2 more minutes, until the fish is done. (Sole is a thin fish, so it does not take long to cook). Ladle into bowls. Serve warm or wait till it reaches room temperature, if it is a hot evening. Enjoy!