Monday, October 18, 2010

Italian Vegetable Soup

This is one of my favorite ways to use up a big mish mash of vegetables hanging out in my fridge for a little too long.  Although some lend themselves better than others, you can throw in just about any vegetable, fresh, frozen or canned.  Adding some beans and serving it either over pasta or with a hunk of crusty bread will make it a meal.  The version below uses up some of the last of my summer crop as well as taking advantage of a few things stored in the freezer from season's past.
-1 large onion, chopped
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-1 yellow pepper, chopped
-1 large yellow squash, seeded and chopped
-1 bunch snap beans, chopped or snapped (or use canned)
-12 medium okra, stemmed and chopped
-2 Tbsp dried basil
-salt and pepper
-4 c vegetable or chicken broth
-1 quart stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce
-2 c garbanzo beans, pre-soaked (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
-1 quart frozen corn
-1 c frozen kale
-several handfuls of fresh basil leaves
-whole wheat rotini pasta
-Parmesan cheese

->You can chop the vegetables as you go along.  Saut√© onion in oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and pepper.  Add squash and beans and okra.  Season with basil, salt, and pepper.  Add broth, tomatoes, and beans.  Bring to a boil.  Add frozen vegetables and continue to simmer until all vegetables and beans are tender and broth thickens slightly.  Remove from heat and stir in handfuls of fresh basil.  Serve over pasta and top with Parmesan cheese.

~*TIP:  Using dry beans rather than canned beans is much more cost-effective, reduces waste, and protects you from the added sodium and presence of BPAs in canned beans.  I've been trying to switch over entirely to dry beans lately.  It requires a little more planning ahead in that you can either soak the beans overnight (long method) or boil them for about 2-3 minutes and then let soak 2-4 hours (short method) before using them.  Either way you will save money, have better flavor and texture, and protect yourself from nasty additives.  *~

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