Super Veggie Minestrone

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced onion

1 1/2 cups diced celery

3 tablespoons Unflavored or Basil Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/3 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

15 oz. can pureed or crushed tomatoes

15 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

15 oz. can dark kidney or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

6-8 cups vegetable or chicken broth

2 cups orecchiette pasta (or small shells or ziti)

5 oz. spinach, sliced into ribbons

Optional toppings:

Drizzle of Olive Oil

Drizzle of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Grated Parmesan cheese

Basil Pesto

In a large pot, saute the carrots, onion and celery in olive oil for 5 minutes or until onions are transluscent.  Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds; add the zucchini and continue to cook 3-4 more minutes.  Add the seasonings.

Stir in the pureed and diced tomateos, the beans, and 6 cups of the broth.  Bring to a simmer.  Add more broth, if needed, to make, well, soup.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Add the pasta and cook until pasta is done, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the spinach and cook through, about 2 minutes.  

Serve soup with a drizzle of olive oil and your choice of toppings.

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