to say that i’m a fan of heidi swanson, her blog 101 cookbooks and her incredible food photography would be a massive understatement. i’ve been reading her beautiful food/recipe blog for years now and was thrilled when she agreed to share one of my favorite recipes from her book, super natural cooking. heidi’s spring minestrone soup is just what i’m craving right now, especially after an afternoon of eating french desserts with a good friend yesterday. after all that sugar, i could use something light and full of “green”. i hope you’ll enjoy heidi’s recipe (and photography) as much as i did. if you’re still looking for something sweet, our food writer kristina of three layer cake suggests heidi’s recipe for all-natural thin mint cookies. delicious. thanks to heidi for sharing her fantastic spring soup recipe with us- click here for the full recipe or just click “read more” below.
about heidi: based in san francisco, heidi swanson takes photographs, writes cookbooks, publishes websites, and sometimes (mostly in the past) helps to produce gatherings of interesting people (TED, TASTE3). her writing, projects, and photographs have been featured in publications such as food & wine magazine, the washington post, glamour, whole foods markets, saveur, fast company, and many more. her recipe journal, 101 cookbooks, won the 2005 people’s choice webby award for best personal web site. ten speed press recently published heidi’s super natural cooking- a cookbook inspired by whole foods and natural ingredients.
(with brown rice)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup medium-grain brown basmati rice, rinsed
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup sugar snap or snow peas, trimmed and cut in half diagonally
8 spears asparagus, trimmed and diagonally sliced into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen (not canned)
Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, then add the shallots and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes until soft. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the rice is just tender, 35 to 45 minutes.
Add the sugar snap peas, asparagus, and green peas, and season with a few healthy pinches of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. The key to making this soup truly delicious, is getting the seasoning right, so if you need more salt, add some and taste again. Taste and adjust. Simmer for another 2 or 3 minutes and serve immediately; this way the vegetables stay crisp and bright.
Why did you choose this recipe?:
This is the soup that you see on the cover of Super Natural Cooking, so it holds a special place in my heart. It tastes as vibrant as it looks, and I wait all year for Spring to come around so I can enjoy it again. The best part about the Spring Minestrone is the way it fills you up, but doesn’t make you feel sluggish. Translation: perfect for lunch. Also, you can tweak it in many different ways to keep things interesting. Some days I enjoy it with poached eggs on top, other days I’ll add a couple handfuls of edamame and a drizzle of sesame oil. I mention in the book that you might try swapping out the peas for shelled fava beans, and tossing a bit of freshly grated Parmesan lemon zest, and shredded basil on top. It’s an endlessly adaptable, simple soup that is hard to screw up.