There are simply days when it’s time to eat lightly or cut back a little. Even if you’re not on WW (Weight Watchers) or following some other sort of weight-loss program, a few bowls of colorful all-vegetable soup might be just what you need today or even exactly as the doctor ordered. (“Eat more fiber!”) Maybe you overdid it at the restaurant Saturday night or at the neighbor’s brunch on Sunday; you could have skipped your workouts last week. Whatever…I’m guessing this could be your soup this week–great for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow.
I have made this easy potful for years and it’s even been blogged before. Today it was time to rewrite the recipe and add its second-day version (baked in a bowl with an egg in the middle!) right here in the same post.
The vegetables for my soup were all sitting around the fridge or kitchen counter and needed to be used. If you have different vegetables or even leftover cooked vegetables, throw them in. Be green. Chopped fennel would be a favorite sub. If you have finely chopped broccoli or cauliflower, don‘t add them until the last couple of minutes; their strong flavors will overpower the broth. Want a heartier soup and have some meat, pasta, potatoes, or rice? Be my guest. As it is, it’s vegan (plain soup only), gluten-free, and 0 Weight Watcher SmartPoints — which was exactly what I wanted.
A more traditional Provencal vegetable soup would be made with water, the broth created from the beautiful mix of vegetables. A pistou (spoonful of pesto) would also be added as long as the basil was growing. (A pistou being a pounded with mortar and pestle mixture of basil, garlic, salt, and olive oil; a pesto often adds pine nuts and /or Parmesan. Some people now make it in the food processor; it’s not quite the same, but works.) While it would add some calories, and would render the soup not-vegan if you use Parmesan cheese in the pesto, it’s a great use for fresh basil, is lovingly scrumptious (words fail me) and will make you a convert forever. The pistou can be served in a bowl at table and added to taste by each individual. Unless you’re flush or have an indoor herb garden, this might be a treat for times when the basil is overflowing the garden or farm stand and doesn’t cost $4.00 for a small pot in the grocery.
TIP: When you have tons of basil or it’s dirt cheap (I know), make pesto and freeze it in small batches.
However you decide to make the soup, do try this, and save a bowl or two for the poached egg version while you’re at it:
Vegetable Soup Two Ways
- Non-Stick Cooking spray
- · Pinch crushed red pepper
- · 4 leeks white part only, chopped (can sub 1 large onion)
- · 2 stalks celery small dice
- · 2 carrots peeled, and sliced thinly
- · 1 parsnip peeled, sliced thinly and chopped
- · 2 small turnips peeled, and small dice
- · 1 cup cabbage chopped finely
- · 1 small summer yellow squash, large dice
- · 2 cloves garlic minced
- · 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes don’t use pureed tomatoes
- · 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence or a mix of basil and oregano or thyme
- · 1/ 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- · 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- · 2 quarts vegetable stock check to make sure your stock is gluten free if you’ve purchased it from the store
- 1/2 cup fresh basil shredded julienne (optional)
- Spray a 6-quart heavy kettle well with non-stick cooking spray and add crushed red pepper. Heat over medium flame for 10 seconds until fragrant. Add the leeks and celery and let cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add carrots, parsnips, turnips, and cabbage. Continue stirring and let cook 4-5 minutes until beginning to soften. Add garlic; cook 1 minute.
- Pour in tomatoes and sprinkle with Herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Stir, cover, and let come to boil. Pour in stock, stir, cover, and bring to a boil again.
- Reduce heat to simmer and cook until vegetables are nearly-tender, fifteen – twenty minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot garnished with fresh basil or pistou (pesto), if desired. (See link in post for pistou recipe.)
- DIRECTIONS FOR Oven-Baked Soup with Poached Egg (uses already-made soup)
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place rack at center.
- Fill oven-safe bowls with hot water to warm. Heat soup in pot on stove. Pour hot water out of bowls.
- Place bowls on rimmed baking sheet. Ladle about a cup of hot soup into each bowl. Crack an egg into a measuring cup and pour it into the middle of the soup. Sprinkle egg with salt, pepper, and a little grated Parmesan, if desired. (Add points for cheese.)
- Put rimmed sheet into the oven and bake about 18- 20 minutes for runny eggs and about 23 for soft-set. 25-30 for hard set–a guess, as I only let mine go to 23!
STORING THE SOUP: Cooled promptly and stored quickly, this soup keeps in the fridge 3-4 days or 4-5 months in the freezer. (courtesy still taste.com)
What are you reading? If you’re a mystery fan, try the first of South African Rennie Airth’s John Madden books, RIVER OF DARKNESS, for a real treat. Well-written and totally captivating, you’ll thrill to this page-turner. Don’t give it away because once you’ve read the rest of the series, you’ll probably want to take it up again one cold winter night.
Tormented by his harrowing wartime experiences and the loss of his family, Inspector John Madden is sent by Scotland Yard to investigate when a small Surrey village is torn apart by five horrific murders and joins forces with a beautiful doctor to capture the killer, a demented veteran of World War I.amazon.com
Put your feet up and read while your soup cooks,