Minestrone in minutes

    serves 4

    The classic Italian vegetable soup typically includes a wide variety of vegetables. Using frozen vegetables reduces the prep time as well as the cooking time, but fresh vegetables may be used instead if you prefer. Cooked pasta, rice, or orzo added at the last minute would make a hearty addition. A spoonful of pesto can add volumes of flavor. Use this recipe as more of a guide than gospel.
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

    ½ cup chopped onions

    1 large clove garlic, minced

    1 (16-ounce) package frozen Italian


    1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

    1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and


    5 cups vegetable broth (page 15)

    1 teaspoon dried basil

    ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    3 cups fresh baby spinach, firmly packed

    2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

    Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the frozen vegetables, tomatoes and their juice, chickpeas, and broth. Add the basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. A few minutes before serving time, stir in the spinach and parsley. Taste and adjust the seasonings.