Spring Vegetable and Chickpea Minestrone
This hearty spring soup can be a delicious start to a meal or a whole meal in itself. A nod to the Palouse region of our state, it features Pacific Northwest–grown chickpeas, which give the soup its heft. Early spring vegetables like asparagus, peas, fennel, and broccoli give the soup its beautiful green color, while fresh, spring tarragon adds unique flavor. Play around with the vegetables and make it your own, taking care not to overcook the vegetables. If going gluten-free, rice or quinoa are great substitutions for the pasta.
Serves 8 | start to finish 30 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup chopped fennel bulb or celery 5 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups flavorful stock — chicken or vegetable
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon coriander
2 cups chickpeas (1 cup dry, soaked in water overnight)
4 ounces pasta (such as little elbows, orzo, mini-shells, penne)
4 cups finely chopped green veggies (any combination of broccoli, green beans, spring peas, kale, asparagus, peas, cauliflower)
1 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup fresh tarragon
1–2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste
garnish options: finely grated Romano cheese, dollop of sour cream, drizzle of good olive oil, tarragon, and/or crunchy, homemade croutons
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and fennel and saute 2–3 minutes, stirring often.
Turn heat to medium and cook for 5 more minutes or until tender. Add garlic, cook 2– 3 more minutes. Add stock, water, salt, spices, and chickpeas and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes or until chickpeas are tender.
Add pasta, bring to a boil, and when the pasta is about halfway cooked, add the veggies. (You don’t want to cook the veggies too long, or they will lose their beautiful green color.) When pasta is cooked and veggies are just tender and bright green, stir in scallions and tarragon.
Add the lemon juice a tablespoon at a time, tasting.
Serve in small bowls and garnish. (Croutons add a nice texture, too.)
Vegetarian (use vegetable stock)