On a year by year seasonal basis, I go through phases. Some winter seasons, I’m all about pasta. Other seasons I’ve hunkered down and found my way around many different curry recipes. This season? It appears to be all about one-pot stews that warm (and also happen to be good with a solid piece of crusty bread).
Recipe Base: a vegan original
This particular recipe is a lightly tweaked version of minestrone that I developed for Simply Recipes. The version over on that site, however, is vegan. This version is decidedly not. The vegan version is good but when it comes to these tomato stews, I feel like it’s just screaming for cheese.
I didn’t put this in the recipe but this stew is also good with a parmesan rind thrown in. However, I’ve found it really only works with the non-vegetarian parmesan (which is why I didn’t include it in the recipe). So, just a thought, that if you aren’t going for a full vegetarian recipe- toss the rind in, you won’t be disappointed.
Also, I’ll give my spiel here about frozen vegetables. I love keeping frozen vegetables on hand because try as a might, my family is not always up for the squash and sweet potato recipes I want every day. Frozen vegetables retain their nutrition and when produce is out of season, I’ll buy frozen. I almost always have green beans, peas, and edamame stashed away.
Rice Versus Pasta
Finally, you could totally switch back over to making this soup with pasta. It would definitely speed up the process. However, there’s something really nice about the rice. It would also be nice with farro, sorghum, or even barley.
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:45 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 5 minutes
Yield:6 servings 1x
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
2 stalks celery, minced
2 medium carrots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup short grain brown rice
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 bay bay leaf
1 cup cubed yukon gold potatoes (1/2 lbs)
1 cup frozen green beans
1 15 oz can, crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated parmesan
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil to the pot and follow with the minced onion, celery, and carrots. Cook until the trio of vegetables is tender and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute more.
Next, add the rice followed closely by the broth, water, herbs, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 25 minutes. After that time, stir in the potatoes and green beans. Continue to cook until the rice and potatoes are just about tender then stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and chickpeas. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until everything is tender.
Finally, add in the salt and parmesan. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. I’ll often add a bit more parmesan before adding more salt (I like quite a bite of the parmesan in mine). Finish with a few cranks of black pepper and extra parmesan, if desired.
I did not like tomatoes as a child. My mom grew tomatoes in our garden and I always turned up my nose at them. What a missed opportunity to enjoy something so delicious! As an adult with my own garden, I was excited to grow a big harvest this summer. Unfortunately, both tomato plants died before they produced any fruit! If you’re lucky enough to have a homegrown bounty of fresh tomatoes still warm from the summer sun, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad.
In fact, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad even if you don’t have a vegetable garden. That is, unless you’ve discovered this recipe in the dead of winter and all you can find are bland greenhouse tomatoes. In that case, bookmark this page and come back in summer when tomatoes have the absolute best flavor. I used pearl tomatoes on the vine for this recipe because they’re the perfect bite size when sliced into quarters. Feel free to use whatever tomatoes you have on hand!
This marinated tomato and avocado salad is a fantastic summer recipe whether you’re barbecuing at home or headed out for a picnic. The tomatoes can chill in the fridge while you prep the rest of your feast, making this a really simple recipe to prepare if you’re in charge of multiple dishes. Dice and add the avocado just before serving for the best results.
While incredibly fresh and delicious on its own, there are many ways you can bulk up this marinated tomato and avocado salad if you need to feed a crowd. Try adding cooked quinoa, couscous, or farro. Or, turn it into a pasta salad by adding cooked and cooled shells or penne. I have big plans to spread this salad on crusty bread for a bruschetta-inspired appetizer.
1 or 2 ripe avocados, diced (depending on your preference and the size of your avocados)
⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
Quarter the pearl tomatoes and place them in a large bowl. Peel the red onion and cut it in half from tip to root. Place the flat part of the onion on your cutting board and carefully slice it into thin half moons. Add the onion to the bowl with the tomatoes.
Combine the chopped garlic, lime juice, olive oil, agave, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. The marinade should be salty, tangy, and just a tad sweet – adjust the ingredients until balanced.
Pour the marinade over the sliced tomatoes and onion and gently toss to coat. Marinate the tomatoes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Just before serving, drain any excess liquid from the tomatoes. Tip: if you’re serving this salad with cooked quinoa, couscous, or pasta, reserve the marinade for extra dressing. Transfer the marinated tomatoes and onions to a serving platter and add the diced avocado. Top with chopped cilantro and serve fresh.