Last week I was craving minestrone soup, but many of the vegetables that I use in it are not in season. Buying imported, out of season veggies would have greatly increased the cost of the dish, so I decided to replace them with something that is always in season: tortellini!
I reduced the cost of this soup, by using homemade chicken broth . I also used dry beans that I cooked from scratch . When you use dry beans you save about 75% off the price of canned beans. It is more time consuming that opening a can, but with my pressure cooker method I can batch cook a large amount in less than 1 1/2 hours. I realize that making homemade tortellini would have reduced the cost even further, but I cheated and used frozen cheese tortellini.
Alea’s Tortellini Soup
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, minced
- 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup carrots, julienned
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 3/4 cups black beans or 1 can of black beans (Or learn how to cook your own beans here.) 
- 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 2 – 3 cups cheese stuffed tortellini
- 3 cups fresh spinach
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add onion, celery, garlic, and carrots.
2. Sauté veggies in the oil for 5 minutes.
3. Add broth, tomatoes, beans, and spices to the pot. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add spinach leaves and tortellini and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until pasta is al dente and spinach is wilted.
Serves 4 – 6.