Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hearty and Healthy Vegetable Soup

Odd that I chose to start getting excited about soup as it gets warmer but as the farmer's markets open and all of the produce starts appearing I got inspired by veggies. Something I hope you have learned by now about my cooking is that there is no special formula. You can put in what you like and leave out what you don't. A recipe doesn't have to be a formula followed to the letter. When I read criticism of recipes on various sites it is often a result of the recipe not meeting that particular person's personal taste. The beauty of cooking is, you are the master of your own kitchen. Hate fennel? Leave it out. Love basil? Add another handful. The only sin is under seasoning your food so taste along the way and you will always end up with something great! 

I prefer to graze on small meals and broth based soups are a perfect way to get in your vegetables, control hunger and keep your weight under control (or going down in my case). This recipe isn't from any particular source, I just added things that we happen to love in our house. I chose to leave out starches such as potatoes and corn but you can certainly add them if you prefer. Try to choose organic vegetables whenever possible but if you can't buy everything organic at least follow the dirty dozen rule. 

Vegetable Soup
Servings: 12 Cups

1 Bunch Kale, ribs removed, wash and chopped into large pieces
2 Large Leeks, white parts only washed and chopped
5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Medium Carrots, peeled and cut into slices
1 (10 oz) Package Frozen Peas
1 (15 oz) Can Red Kidney Beans, low-sodium, washed 
12 Medium Cremini Mushrooms, washed, stems trimmed, cut into quarters
1 (28 oz) Can San Marzano Tomatoes, crushed
8 C Chicken or Vegetable Broth, 99% fat free, low-sodium 
2 Low Sodium Vegetable or Chicken Bouillon Cubes
2 Tbsp Canola or Olive Oil
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Sea Salt
Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (Optional)

In a 8 quart stock pot heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots, and garlic and saute briefly. Add crushed tomatoes, kale, mushrooms, broth and bouillon cubes. Simmer until veggies are cooked through. Add peas, kidney beans, and salt and pepper to taste and heat through. 

Serve hot with a tablespoon of Parmigiano-Reggiano (splurge on the good stuff at the grocery store and grate it as needed, trust me the flavor is worth it and you only need a tiny bit so it lasts a long time). 


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