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Minestrone and Homemade Herbed

The soup is hearty, filling and fresh. It features okra - a natural vegetable thickener. The soup has a comforting array of herbs complimented with vegetables, pasta and beans. You'll learn the slow-cooking method as well as how to make a homemade stock. The herbed breadsticks taste great and are packed with Italian flavor. Wheat-eating tasters report they would never have known anything was "different" about these breadsticks.

2 Leeks
2 cloves garlic
3 carrots
3 stocks of celery
1 zucchini
1 summer squash
20 okras
2 cups chopped spinach (added at the end)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Teaspoon each: dried basil, dried tarragon, crushed fennel seeds, crushed hot pepper flakes
2 cans of unsalted diced tomatoes
1 cup elbow rice pasta
1/2 cup red wine
1 15 oz can (drained) cannelloni beans
2 teaspoons of garlic salt (to taste)

Soup Stock:

Scrub the vegetables.  Take pieces of the vegetables that you would not normally put into a soup and place them in a pot.  Include a few pieces of each vegetable represented in the soup.  Cover the vegetables with cold water and boil until the vegetables look dull.  Reserve to use in the soup.

Sautéing the Vegetables:

In the soup-pot, sauté the leeks, when bright and shiny, add the garlic. Chop the other vegetables for the soup.  One at a time, add each vegetableto the soup pot in order of density. Cook them until they are about half-cooked and then add the next vegetable. Add the herbs into the oil. Strain the stock into the soup pot, (only using the liquid, discarding the stock vegetables). Add the tomatoes and the rice pasta. Add water if the soup is too thick.  Let this simmer for about 15 minutes. Add drained cannellini beans, red wine and garlic salt. Turn off the heat and add chopped spinach.  Place lid on the pot and let the spinach steam.  Taste. Adjust seasonings. 

Italian Breadsticks:
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon flax seeds
2 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon apple vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons xantham gum
1 teaspoon gelatin or agar powder*
1 teaspoon each: oregano, basil, marjoram
In a blender, combine flax seeds and water.  Blend until thick.  (Note: The flax mix does not get thick enough in the food processor.)  Place 2 cloves of garlic in food processor and mince.  Add the flax mix, oil, syrup, vinegar, salt, xantham gum, herbs and agar-agar and process until thick. Remove the cutting blade and change to the dough blade in the food processor.
*Agar is a vegan gelatin derived from seaweed. For those avoiding iodine, it is not a good choice because it is high in iodine. 

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients:

1 1/3 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca or cassava flour
1/3 cup almond meal*
Mix dry ingredients with a whisk to incorporate.  Take the temperature of the dry ingredients.  Subtract this temperature from 140 to give you the target temperature of the yeast liquid. 
Yeast Liquid: 

1 cup unsweetened almond milk** or rice milk

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 1/4 teaspoons fast rising yeast

Heat milk mixed with maple syrup to the target temperature (140 minus the temperature of the dry ingredients).  Measure temperature with an instant read thermometer.  Add yeast.  Let it sit until yeast is activated (foamy). 

Add milk mixture with the dry ingredients to food processor and process for 45 seconds with the dough blade.  Take the temperature of the dough.  It should be about 78 degrees for best results in the fermentation process. 

Oil hands to work with the dough.  Form 8 or 9 bread sticks. Roll out “sticks” on an oiled non-stick baking sheet.   Place props on the cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise/ferment for 2-3 hours.  Bake on the same baking sheet at 450 degrees 15-18 minutes.  (Bread is done when you hear a hollow sound when thumping the bottom.) 

Hint:  GF dough only rises once.  Let it rise on or in the same container you plan to bake it in. *Almond milk can easily be made by blending eight almonds and one cup of water until smooth. **Almond meal can be made by baking almonds at 350 degrees for eight minutes.  Let cool and process in a food processor until they are a powder. (Any "nut" or "seed" flour will work in this recipe.)

Dip for Bread
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons lecithin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Whisk ingredients together.  Serve in individual containers.