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  • Writer's pictureEmma Tierson

Bacon and Bean Minestrone Soup

Yes! Fall is here and with it comes soul-warming soups!


Minestrone soup is one of my more recent favorites. When I was younger I didn't understand why this soup was so common and desirable. However, now that I'm all grown up, I totally get it. It's an anything goes kind of soup! Minestrone soup does not have a set recipe. It's just a vegetable based soup that has common elements. A typical minestrone will have a tomato-y broth, vegetables (carrots, celery, onion, garlic), either rice or pasta, and sometimes beans.



Having a recipe this versatile is great because oftentimes you don't even have to go to the store to make dinner. I normally have some sort of canned tomato in my pantry, anything works paste, sauce, crushed, diced, whole, heck you can even use fresh tomatoes or no tomatoes at all! Some days I have a broth from my Zero Waste Stock, but a lot of days I settle for the easy option of using some powdered chicken bouillon or Better Than Boullion base that I have on hand in my fridge. If you don't have veggie scraps and want a vegetarian option for broth, you can honestly just season some water with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika, maybe a little turmeric for color, and whatever herbs you want to use. I'm guessing that if you're here though, you're here for the bacon. Mhmmmm.....bacon. I mean just look at that cruncher below!!!



I'm a huge fan of crispy, almost-burnt, fat completely rendered bacon. I usually make bacon in the oven so that I can save all of the bacon grease and then disgustingly scrape all that amazing tasting rendered fat and blood off of the parchment paper. I don't care if you judge me about my eating habits. I'm no vegan and I'm not a saint. I'm just a girl telling you about good food, whether you decide to eat it or not is your choice.



Alright, so you're going to cook that bacon up (honestly use however much or as little bacon as you would like. There is no wrong way to make this soup) and make sure it is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious levels of crispy. Seriously. If you don't like your bacon crispy that's fine, it won't be later when we add it to the soup. The bacon rehydrates. So don't feel bad about making the bacon crispy now. What we are really doing is rendering the fat so that we don't get fatty bits in our soup and so that we have a good layer of grease to saute vegetables. Speaking of, when the bacon is done, transfer it to a plate to crumble when it isn't sizzling with heat, and throw some veggies in to saute i.e. onions, mushrooms, garlic, and other thicker vegetables like carrots.



So I'm going to plug a product right now. I used my Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven to make this recipe. I received it as a wedding gift and absolutely love it. Dutch ovens are able to be used for almost any recipe. You can saute, make soups, deep fry, bake breads and cakes, cook casseroles, boil pasta, whatever you're making this baby can take it. This is why I highly reccommend it as one of my Top 5 Essential Kitchen Tools. If you're interested in buying a dutch oven, check out the few listed below. The price range for a dutch oven is wide, so it fits any level of income. I know that I would personally love it if you followed any of these links for your purchase, however, I do know that Aldi also sells dutch ovens seasonally (as in right now, in September) for a even more reasonable price. The difference between these products will likely just be how easily they chip and how well they retain heat, so take that into account as you shop.

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After sauteing it's time to add the remaining ingredients. So throw in your tomatoes, your herbs and spices, any softer vegetables, beans, meats, and grains. Cook until the rice or pasta is al dente, then eat and enjoy!

Oh! Pro Tip:

If you are meal prepping then DO NOT COOK YOUR PASTA/RICE IN YOUR SOUP!!! Just heat it up separately and add it to the soup right before you reheat. If you don't then the pasta or rice will just absorb liquid and become mushier by the day.


Please enjoy this boomerang of me stiring soup. I had a lot of fun cooking this, can you tell?



 

Bacon and Bean Minestrone Soup


Ingredients:


4-6 Slices of Bacon

1 Onion, diced

4 Cloves of Garlic, thinly sliced

4 Mushrooms, sliced

4 Plum Tomatoes, diced

2 Carrots, sliced

2 28oz Can(s) of Crushed Tomatoes

2 Ribs of Celery, sliced

1/2c Green Beans

1 Can of your favorite beans (I tend to use Butter or Cannellini)

Soup Pasta (Tortellini, Ditalini, Elbows, Farfalle mini or Farfallini, Gnocchi, Orecchiette, Orzo...)

2 Bay Leaves

Thyme

Your favorite type of Bouillion seasoning (2 cubes, or 1-2Tb)

Salt and Pepper to taste


Directions:


Using a large pot or dutch oven, pan fry the bacon on medium heat until it is nice and crispy (almost burnt). You'll need to flip them over at least once. You want it to be as crispy as possible because once it's put in the soup it will rehydrate.


Remove the bacon from the pot once it is cooked, and set aside until later.


Now that the bacon has cooked and left flavorful grease in the pot, add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute them, stirring occasionally, until they have a bit of color on them. Add the carrots and saute for a couple of minutes longer.


Then add the remaining ingredients. Using the tomato can, add 1-2 cans of water or broth according to the thickness you prefer for your soup. Bring this to a gentle boil and then add your pasta, roughly half of a 1lb box **.


Cook according to the directions on the box until the pasta is al dente. While the pasta is cooking, cut or break apart your bacon into bite-sized pieces. When the pasta is al dente, take the bay leaves out of the soup and add the bacon bits on top of your soup as you would a garnish or crackers.


Serve and enjoy!


**if making for meal prep, do not add the pasta to the soup. Simply cook it on the side and add it to the soup right before you heat it up for your meal. Keeping your pasta separate ensures that it will remain al dente and that the soup will be the thickness you prefer. Reheat on the stovetop or microwave.


As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.



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