It’s National Date-Nut Bread Day.

I have to say, this 365 Foods blog has been bad for my figure, overall. I actually like date-nut bread (Deanna), but I couldn’t bring myself to make it. Couldn’t find a healthy enough recipe, and my friends are getting married this month. In Napa. I need to look hot – to squeeze myself into a pretty dress – which means that date-nut breads, and other dessert-y-like treats, are currently off the menu.

So, let’s celebrate Vegetarian Awareness Week instead! There’s lots to celebrate.

As you’ve learned by now, I’m not a big fan of meat anyway. The way I explain it to people is: I eat things that fly, and things that swim. That’s it. So ostrich is out (they don’t fly). And don’t even go there with swimming mammals. I’ve heard it before; it’s unoriginal; and it’s clearly not what I mean.

There are a number of good reasons for eating vegetarian at least part of the time. Eating meatless even one day a week will lower your cholesterol significantly. From a world health perspective, as we’ve all learned, it takes a lot of consumable fibre to produce even a pound of beef.

That said, I’m not generally a fan of tofu, either. Too often genetically modified. And if you’re going to eat a food, I say eat it. Don’t eat the pretend version.

In honour of Vegetarian Awareness Week, then, I made minestrone soup, using the unmodified version of the bean. Minestrone generally calls for cannellini beans but I didn’t have any. Navy beans and French lentils worked just fine.

As with Della’s squash, this isn’t really a recipe, more a list of ingredients and some instructions. The thing about minestrone is that you’re supposed to make it your own recipe. That’s the point.

1 ½ C dried beans
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 small leeks, white part only, sliced
some carrots, diced
2 or 3 ribs of celery, diced
several cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
tomato paste (1 to 2 Tbsp)
8 C vegetable stock
(1 or 2 parmesan rinds*)
1 or 2 bay leaves
2 potatoes, small dice
1 bunch kale, stripped from the ribs and sliced
3 or four tomatoes, diced
fresh oregano and rosemary (or other herbs of your choice)

fresh vegetable-y goodness

  • Cover the beans in cold water and bring to a boil. Cover, turn off and remove from heat, and allow to sit for an hour.
  • Drain the beans, cover with cold water again, and simmer until softened (about an hour).
  • Meanwhile, sauté the onion, leeks, carrots and celery until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or so. Add the tomato paste and stir until it coats all of the vegetables.
  • Pour in the vegetable stock.
  • Add the bay leaves, and the parmesan rinds if you have ‘em. What’s a parmesan rind, you ask? You know that hard bit at the end of the parmesan that won’t grate? Throw it in the freezer. Then when you’re making your minestrone, toss it in the soup pot. It will imbue your entire soup with a lovely parmesan flavour (take it out before serving).
  • Add the potatoes and simmer until they’re softened but not mushy. By now your beans should be done. Add them to the pot along with the kale. Cook until the kale has wilted.
  • Add the tomatoes, fresh herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with freshly grated parmesan and some good bread.


~ Eva