This recipe is totally Zen: one pot. 20 minutes or so. Done. Costs little. Feeds many. Loves all.

Another odd weather day for June in Connecticut. Last week I was sweating and thinking I planted my garden too late, this week I fear another frost! Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration but, you get the point, it is sorta cold today. The weather is mercurial enough for me to whip up another warm and satisfying soup, a meatless, bean free tofu laden minestrone. This soup is easy to make, relatively inexpensive, will feed me all week and is totally healthful. I like a firm yet tender tofu. I buy one produced locally because I think it’s the best tofu I have ever had. The tofu replaces the beans in traditional minestrone, just for kicks. Believe it r not, this recipe or one like it has converted many “tofu haters.” Plus, you can throw it in a microwaveable dish and take it to work, you can heat it up for dinner and it fills you up fast with lots of fiber. 

This is an “almost vegan” recipe, because a little Parmesan cheese and some cheese tortellini make it so yummy. Vegan friends: don’t despair, I’m sure a good soy replacement will work wonders.

Carnivores and so called tofu haters: have at it. Add whatever you want, chicken, pork, leftover steak pieces from the grill. It’s a free country. I suggest you cube your protein into small bites as I do the tofu. It adds a reassuring uniformity I like with this comfortable, warming dish.

For this recipe, I use only a third of a jar of salsa to give a little zip, but not overpower the dish. It’s an Italian dish but a little salsa will create what the french call a “je ne sais quoi…” a little ” I don’t know what that flavor is that makes this so special, but I love it…” How’s that for “fusion”? It really is a simple, pheasant dish we’ve elevated.

Here’s whatcha need:

1 small to medium size organic onion, diced

1 stalk organic celery, diced

2 organic carrots, diced

1 15 oz can of organic tomato sauce or puree (if I want more soup or a thinner broth, I sometimes add two plus one can of water as explained below)

1/3 jar GourGanics, we like to use spicy here

1/2 cup perfectly cubed, firm organic tofu

If you like beans, add a can of organic kidney, garbanzo or black beans. It’s a free country, after all.

If you have a little organic baby spinach, add a handful at the very last minute or two of cooking.

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese or vegan replacement

one (8 oz bag ) container dry or frozen tortellini (says it serves 4, you can serve 8-10)

Here’s what to do:

Sautee onions , celery and carrots in a little olive oil or butter (if you prefer). Cook until translucent. Add salsa, one 15 oz can of organic tomato sauce or puree. Then fill the same can of puree or sauce with water and dump that into the pot. The salsa replaces the need for chopped garlic but you can add more chopped garlic to taste if you have the time and energy. Allow ingredients to stew or 5 minutes, add 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and tortellini. Allow to cook through (8-10 minutes) and serve. If you have a little organic baby spinach, add a handful at the very last minute or two of cooking. If this is all we are having for dinner, I like to put a small slice of French bread in the bowl if I have it, and top off with a thin slice of American cheese, which melts into the hot broth and makes for a gooey and fun dining experience. Our kids love this recipe.

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