Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Recipe: Hearty Vegetable Soup

As the days shorten and the air turns cool and crisp, we start thinking about ways to get cozy and stay warm. Nothing feel more comforting and revitalizing that a bowl of homemade soup packed with seasonal veggies. This soup can be made at any time of the year with whichever vegetables are available at that time. It is a variation of a standard time-honored recipe that should be passed down with each generation. The smoked paprika adds a bold and unexpected flavor which enhances the warmth of the dish.

If made as written, this recipe is vegan and gluten free.


1 28oz can of diced tomatoes 
1 14oz can of beans, rinsed (we used Westbrae Naturals Organic Soup Beans)
2 tbsp olive oil

3 carrots, cut into half moons
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 red potatoes, cubed (3 yellow or 2 russet potatoes are also fine)

2 medium zucchini, cut into half moons 
2 ears of corn (or 1 cup frozen corn), cut off the cob
1 large handful of green beans, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
3-5 leafs of kale, de-stemmed and chopped into small pieces 

4 cloves garlic, peeled 
2 bay leafs 
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or your herb of choice - dried herbs can be substituted), de-stemmed 
2 tsps sea salt, plus more to taste if desired 
1.5 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried chili flakes, optional

1. In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, thyme, bay leafs, paprika, chili flakes (optional), and salt until it forms a paste. 

2. Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottom stock pan on medium-high heat and then add the spice paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring around with a wooden spoon to infuse oil with spice mixture.

3. Add the harder vegetables: carrots, onion, and potatoes, as they will take longer to cook. While stirring occasionally, cook until lightly brown -- about 4 minutes. 

4. Add the diced tomatoes (with all the juice), zucchini, corn, green beans, rinsed beans, and kale. Stir and continue to cook on medium-high heat for another 3-5 minutes, until vegetables have softened. 

5. Once vegetables are soft but not mushy, add 2.5 of the tomato cans full of water (or about 9 cups). Allow liquid to come to a near boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 20 minutes on medium heat until liquid has reduced slightly and the stock tastes flavorful. 

6. Add salt to taste.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired, and a rustic loaf of bread. 

This recipe makes enough for many meals and is great to take for lunch all week! One batch will easily feed a family of five for dinner with some to save for leftovers.

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