Hearty Vegetable Soup

Fresh Produce at Bistro Vivant (Photo Courtesy Bistro Vivant)

Hearty Vegetable Soup is a fairly healthy meal and can help you lose weight if you are watching your caloric intake. It’s a great weeknight option that can fill you up quickly depending on its ingredients. Beans are a great protein substitute for meat and have far less fat.

Fresh Produce at Bistro Vivant, McLean, Virginia (Photo Courtesy Bistro Vivant)
Fresh Produce at Bistro Vivant (Photo Courtesy Bistro Vivant)

One of my favorites soups is a Hearty Vegetable Soup that I make with whatever veggies I have on hand. This is a great way to use up all those partially-used bags of frozen vegetables that are scattered around your freezer.

Simmering Hearty Vegetable Soup (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Hearty Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

1 T olive oil
1 c diced onion
1 c diced carrot
1 c diced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 t dried thyme
1 t dried basil
1 t dried dill
dash crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can white cannellini beans
3 c frozen mixed vegetables
2 c frozen corn
1 c frozen French-cut green beans
1 vegetable bouillon cube (Knorr is a good brand)
2 cans (14.5 oz each) vegetable stock/broth
5 c water
1 c white wine
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c frozen spinach
1-2 cups small whole grain pasta (uncooked) such as orzo or alphabet

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in soup kettle.
2. Saute onion over medium heat until transparent. Add carrot and celery. Saute mixture until slightly browned.
3. Add garlic, diced tomatoes, thyme, basil, dill, and crushed red pepper flakes. Saute for a few minutes for the spice flavors to emerge.
4. Add tomato sauce, cannellini beans, frozen vegetables (except spinach), bouillon cube, vegetable stock/broth, water and wine. Bring to boil, then reduce heat.
5. Simmer until vegetables are tender and liquid is slightly reduced, about 2 hours.
6. If serving today, add the frozen spinach and uncooked pasta and simmer just until pasta is al dente. (If serving another day or making soup batches to freeze, do not add frozen spinach or pasta. Frozen spinach and uncooked pasta should be added after soup has been reheated and before serving.) Add more liquid if necessary to maintain the soup’s consistency.
7. When pasta is done, ladle soup into bowls.

Serves 6 – 8. Offer with toasted garlic bread or crackers and a side salad. This soup is another candidate to place in the fridge for a day or two which will meld the flavors and render it irresistible.

Varations: You can certainly use fresh veggies if you prefer fresh to frozen. Sometimes frozen veggies hold up better in the soup. Use whatever combination of vegetables that you have. Sometimes you can come up with some great versions. If you happen to have dried shiitake mushrooms, you can add those as well. Adds a nice flavor to the soup. Regular mushrooms tend to shrink after cooking for a while. Adding cooked brown rice is a good option to stretch the soup and provide more fiber. If you are abstaining from alcohol, replace the wine with water or vegetable broth.

Buy yourself a large soup pot from Amazon.com. I have this same pot and it’s great:

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2013)

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