It’s not very often that I come across a recipe for minestrone soup that doesn’t involve the use of tomatoes. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, they are, by far, my least favourite food. Just the mere thought of them gives me a case of the heebie-jeebies, and sadly they aren’t a huge part of my cooking repertoire, although I certainly try to incorporate them when I think I can handle it, especially for Rob’s sake since he happens to love them.
All of this to say, you can imagine my delight when I came across a recipe for a white minestrone with roasted chicken soup over on the Campbell’s website. Not only was this a stew-like concoction tomato free, but it also made use of the already-cooked chicken tucked inside my fridge (side note: I never cook just enough chicken for one meal. If I’m going to go to the effort to turn on the stove I double up on my protein and store the leftovers in the fridge for a different dinner on another day). Classic comfort food at it’s best, which, if you live anywhere near me, you know we are in need of in order to combat the wet and dreary weather of late.
Enhanced with a little crispy bacon and tender orzo, I suspected this family-friendly dish would be a hit with the kids; and I was right. As you can see in the photo below, I didn’t even get the table fully set before they started digging in. Such is the case these days with growing pre-teen boys. I ladle out the soup before setting the table so it can cool a little, and by the time I gather them up it’s the right temperature for eating. In this case, they were hovering close by and when the bowls hit the table so did they.
The original recipe called for turnip, which isn’t a favourite flavour in our house, so I swapped it out for some of the butternut squash I had hanging around. I used dried sage instead of fresh, because that’s what was available, but the soup is so forgiving it truly didn’t seen to matter. In fact, I think the overall recipe is easily adaptable. If gluten poses a challenge to someone in your home, white beans would make an excellent replacement for the pasta, and if your kids aren’t crazy about mushrooms they can be omitted without issue.
It’s very rare that I head to a corporate-run website for recipe inspiration, but in this case I’m so glad I did. Otherwise, I’d be resigned to skipping out on minestrone soup forever, thanks to those pesky tomatoes.
White Minestrone Soup with Roast Chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive/canola oil
- 2 strips bacon, diced
- 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, finely diced
- 1 cup button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 medium potato, diced
- 1 cup diced butternut squash
- 2 small carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 boxes Campbell’s low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups chopped/shredded cooked chicken
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup cooked orzo
- Optional: grated Parmesan cheese
1. Warm the oil in a Dutch oven set over medium heat and sauté the bacon for 4 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Add the leek and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until soft.
2. Add the mushroom, sage, rosemary, and oregano, and cook for 2 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and the herbs are fragrant. Add the potato, squash, and carrots, and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until slightly golden in colour.
3. Add the broth and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and, using a hand/immersion blender, pulse the soup three or four times to slightly thicken it. Stir in the cooked chicken and baby spinach and bring to a simmer.
4. Place a spoonful or two of pasta in each bowl and ladle the hot soup over the top. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired.