It’s Meatless Monday-Summer Minestrone Soup with Chickpea ‘Croutons’


The temperature is heating up and while it might seem crazy to be making and eating soup, I always make a batch of minestrone this time of year. Seeing veggies that are sometimes harder to find in winter, or cost more, gives me the motivation to make a batch. Even if you don’t eat it now, it freezes well. For this one I tried two new ingredients, or should I say, for one, a new technique.

The first was instead of celery, this one used cutting celery that was in the CSA box two weeks ago. I’d never heard of it and if you haven’t either, it’s not even celery but a herb that tastes like it. It looks similar to flat leaf parsley and I thought this was the perfect dish to give it a try.

Second different thing, instead of adding chickpeas to the soup, I made ‘crouton’s out of them. Something that gives them a little crunch, a lot of taste, and they don’t turn soft when added to the soup. (They also make a great snack item too).

3 medium size carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped green beans
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup combination of cutting celery and parsley (use 1 stalk of celery if you can’t find cutting celery)
1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
4 cups stock
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons oil

Chickpea Croutons
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and let them air dry for about 30 minutes
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (if you want to make this soup vegan, leave this out)

For the Soup

In a large pan and over medium high heat, cook the onions in the oil until slightly softened, add the carrots, zucchini, beans and garlic and lower the heat and continue to cook until everything is softened and slightly golden brown. Add the salt, pepper and oregano, chopped tomatoes and stock.
Bring the soup to a boil and then lower heat and cook until some of the liquid has been reduced and the soup is slightly thickened.

For the Croutons
In a skillet and over medium high heat, heat the oil and then add the chickpeas. Stir them so they get coated with the oil and then add a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Add the Italian seasoning and cheese and cook for about ten minutes, stirring frequently. They should be slightly browned and somewhat crispy. Patience is the key to getting them just right.

Serve the soup with a handful of the croutons.

Serves 6

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