This Quick Quinoa Minestrone recipe makes about one gallon, so it’s an easy meal in a bowl for 6 or more. If you are cooking for less than 6 people, you may want... to cut the recipe in half, or make the gallon and have leftovers for a few days.
The base of the soup includes pancetta, Italian bacon, which is very lean. Feel free to leave it out if you prefer a vegetarian soup. Or, in step 2, replace it with a tablespoon of a chopped ‘woody’ herb like thyme, savory or rosemary.
Put the quinoa into a bowl, cover with water and allow to soak 30 minutes.
Heat ¼ cup oil with the pancetta in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4 minutes to render the pancetta. Add the onion, leeks, celery, carrot and fennel, season with salt and pepper and cook, until tender, for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the quinoa and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 3 cups broth, bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
When ready to serve, add the remaining broth, bring to a boil and then add the green vegetables. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, for about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, stir in the herbs and serve immediately in warm bowls. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated parmesan cheese.