Mexican minestrone.

If there seem to be a lot of soup recipes on this site, it’s because we seem to have more bouts than we ought to of not taking good care of ourselves. Nick’s belly aches and his glucose levels are all over the place and I am eating grapes and Cheerios as if either is sufficient nourishment all on its own. So we have soup to feel good when we have been bad, and generally, it works.

Of course, as I write this I am snarfing down a bowl of bunny-shaped pasta and cheese that came from a box and that is organic, and I believe I am meant to pretend that it being organic somehow makes it less bad for me than conventional boxed macaroni and cheese. I don’t call this eating because I am ingesting it in a manner that more closely resembles inhalation.

There is shame in this, and I am grateful that few can see me. I am tucked into a corner of the couch while I write, ignoring the incessant groaning and play-by-play analysis of the hockey game by a team of grown-up boys in my living room as they in turn ignore me. If this game is anything like the last one, it will last four hours and emotionally devastate them. But I digress, as that is not important, at least to me. What matters here is that yesterday I had a nourishing bowl of soup, and it contained vegetables and I was better for it. I hope the effects are lasting.

The soup is something like minestrone, or maybe pozole, and it tastes sort of like salsa and Mexico. It’s best if you chop all your veggies to about the same size. It’s an easy vegan recipe, though I’ve made it with chicken and chicken stock and it was not harmed by the addition of meat. It is very hearty. Serve with avocado or a dollop of sour cream.

Mexican minestrone

(Serves four to six.)

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced sweet potato
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 5.5 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. can hominy, rinsed
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, including juice
  • 1 14 oz. can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro

In a large pot over medium-high heat, sweat onion, carrot, celery, sweet potato, and garlic until the colours have brightened, two to three minutes. Add jalapeño, cumin, chipotle powder, oregano, and pepper, and stir to coat.

Add vegetable stock and tomato paste, and bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat to medium. Simmer for ten to fifteen minutes, until sweet potatoes have softened.

Add hominy, diced tomatoes, black beans, and red bell pepper. Stir in lime zest and juice, and then taste. Adjust seasonings and add salt as needed. At the last moment, stir in a handful or two of cilantro; chop additional cilantro for serving.

And, because it makes me so happy, here’s my favourite photo of the week.