Veggies in a Coma? Make Some Soup.

In Beans, Italian, Pasta, Sweet Potato, Vegetables on December 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm

After a weekend of heavy holiday eating, it was really important to eat light last week.  I definitely got my fill of salads and steamed veggies, but sometimes that just won’t suffice.  That’s where soup comes in handy.  You get condensed nutrition in a warm, delicious bowl.  It is also an opportunity to use up any veggies left at the end of the week (or in this case, before going away for a 4-day trip).

What I had left was a leek, some kabocha squash, a sweet potato, carrots, a turnip, red potatoes, and kale.  I also had vegetable broth and canned crushed tomatoes, which are great for making an Italian minestrone-style soup.  Traditionally, minestrone also has celery, zucchini, green beans, and both white and garbanzo beans.  I had no celery, so that was definitely out.  No zucchini either, as it wasn’t in season and didn’t come in my share, so I opted for winter squash as a sub.  I did have some white beans in the freezer (leftovers from making beans for the Thanksgiving Pizza), but no chickpeas.  Either way, I was confident that soup would be molto delizioso.

I took two 1/2 cup servings from the freezer, and let them sit in water to defrost (while still in the bag).  Then I chopped the leek as I had done for Sunday’s roasted veggies and let them soak in water while I chopped the other veggies.

I peeled both the sweet potato and the carrots, and then cubed them, along with the red potatoes and the turnip.  I had no more room left on my board, so I emptied them all into the soup pot, and then used 1/2 of the leftover 1/2 kabocha squash.  I used everything except the kale, which I would add towards the end to maintain crunchiness.

When everything was in the pot, I added 1 box of vegetable broth, and 4 cups of water.  I also added the beans.

Then I opened up a can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes.  This brand is not D.O.P. (like when I made football pizza), but it is good for soups, stews, or chilis.  When you want to make a pasta or pizza sauce, it’s better to get the D.O.P. kind.

I added the tomatoes to the soup, giving it a nice red color.  I also added a lot of salt and pepper.

I let the soup get to a boil, and then I covered and let simmer for about 1.5 hours.  Normally, I would let the soup cook for 4 hours, but I was strapped for time.  That is also why I used some broth instead of just water.  Then, I added some chopped purple kale and let that cook for another 30 minutes.  The contrast from the purple makes the soup appear a little bit more orange.

While that finished cooking, I prepared some pasta for Nick.  I personally felt the potatoes and sweet potatoes provided enough starch, but I think he needed more of an al dente bite in his.  I used whole wheat gobbetti, because the shape and ridges really absorb the broth nicely.

When the soup was done, it was so bright and aromatic.

I helped myself to a few ladels full.  I took a close up, just so you can 1) see the details and 2) not see exactly how much I ate 🙂

This soup was even better the next day for lunch.  Even though I didn’t have all the traditional ingredients, it was still a hit – even sweeter and more savory than the original recipe!  Luckily I made enough to freeze for a later date, probably on a frigid January night when all I want to do is cuddle under a blanket.

What are some swaps you’ve made in a recipe that actually came out better than the original?

  1. […] my new challenge this month, an easy transition meal is salad.  Salad, like soup, can contain nearly anything.  It can be a yummy, light side to a heartier meal, or the main […]

  2. […] love soup.  I’ve talked about it here, here, and here.  That’s probably why back in the day I’d used more than 10 Hale & […]

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