Serious Eats: Recipes
Eat for Eight Bucks: Minestrone
1 cup dried beans: $0.90
1 onion: $0.50
2 carrots: $0.50
2 celery stalks: $0.50
1/2 head cabbage: $1.00
Fresh thyme: $1.39
1 pound turnips: $1.99
1/2 pound potatoes: $0.50
Pantry items: Olive oil, garlic, bay leaf, salt, Parmesan (optional).
Total cost (for 6-8 portions): $7.28
I love soups that do not call for chicken stock, which I seldom have on hand, but that still offer tons of flavor. This brilliant minestrone, which is probably my favorite recipe in my well-loved copy of The Art of Simple Food, fits that bill and a few others: vegetarian, check; cheap, check; bursting with healthy vegetables, check; studded with filling beans, check; hearty enough to make a meal of, check.
This soup gets a jolt of body and richness from the bean cooking liquid, so you really have to cook your own beans for best results. Its variety of yummy solids ensure that you really can be satisfied by a bowl of minestrone and nothing else, but if you want a green salad and a loaf of bread, you can afford them: you've just made a huge kettle of soup for far less than the price of a movie ticket.
About the author: Robin Bellinger is a freelance editor and shameless cookie addict. She lives in San Francisco and blogs about what she feeds her husband and her daughter at home*economics.