Easy Vegetarian Minestrone

Makes about 7 servings.

Note: Not all vegetable ingredients are essential, except maybe the spinach and the chick-peas! Add, replace, or subtract according to preference. Be creative and enjoy!

  • 1/2 lb. ?Jimmy Lean? or Green Giant?s ?Ground Meatless? vegetable crumbles
  • 4 oz sliced mushrooms (~8-12 mushrooms)
  • 1 chopped green or red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 carrots, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth (or equivalent amount of water & vegetable bouillon mix)
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 cup Tubettini (a very tiny, hollow, cylinder pasta variety – Ronzoni makes some)
  • 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, partially defrosted
  • 1 can (20 oz.) chick-peas
  • 3 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat/brown vegetable crumbles in a heavy 6-quart pan. Add celery, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, and onion. Cook and stir until tender. Add broth and seasonings. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Stir in pasta and spinach. Cook until pasta is tender. Add chickpeas and cheese and heat. Season to taste and serve with additional cheese (again, optional).