I made this Minestrone soup for R, keeping in mind that he was on a diet, and therefore, not allowed to have carbohydrates. This soup therefore contained no pasta, and I replaced it with kidney beans. This soup contains no oil, no carbs, no wine, and no milk products, making it vegan-friendly and it can be easily made in a crock pot or a pressure cooker. I did add some olives, because well, I am an olive lover.

Start off by filling a pressure cooker with a couple of cups of water. To it, drop in a large handful of shredded cabbage, a handful of chopped green beans, a cup of shredded carrots, a cup of finely chopped cauliflower, and a single onion, finely chopped. Add 6 large cloves of minced garlic (about 2 tablespoon), and one teaspoon chopped basil leaves. Drop in half a cup of cooked kidney beans (with the water in which the beans were cooked) and some chopped mushrooms too. I used cloud ear fungus mushrooms, but you can use what you like – button mushrooms are an excellent choice.

Add two or three tomatoes, chopped, a blade of mace, and a teaspoon of crushed black pepper. Seal the pressure cooker, and heat it till the pressure builds up fully, and then drop the pressure and cook for 10 minutes. The vegetables should be mushy.

Cool the soup completely, then, use a potato masher to mash everything into submission. At this point, you can also transfer part of it to a blender and blend it well. Start heating the mixture with a couple of cups of water. In my case, it was vegetable broth which was leftover, but you can also add a vegetable stock cube. If you see the blade of mace, throw it away. Add a few olives, chopped, a couple of teaspoons of chopped cilantro, and adjust salt and pepper. Heat for a few more minutes, let it boil up, and then remove from heat and serve hot.

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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