By Cal Orey
|Perfect with real butter and fresh baugettes|
February and slain (rain and snow) around the sierras is a perfect time for hearty vegetable soup. Think plenty of fresh, seasonal vegetables and stock for a chunky semi-homemade soup. Garlic and onions, carrots and celery—and fresh tomatoes—with plenty of pasta can make your pot of soup on the stovetop a crowd pleaser in the kitchen and comfort food in your bowl on the table for lunch or dinner.
Last week I came down with quickie cold-flu two days after swimming, walking the dogs early in the morning and late at night. It was rest, juice, herbal tea—and store-bought vegetable soup that helped make the aches and sniffling not seem so bad. But if I had more energy I would have dished up my homemade brand. Using garlic and onion paired with lots of veggies put into a big pot with organic store bought broth was amazing. Not only was it easy, the aroma in my cabin was sublime.
Fresh Chunky Vegetable Soup
- 1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil or European style butter
- ¼ cup yellow onion,
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 carton (32 ounces) organic vegetable broth
- 2 cups mixed fresh vegetables, chopped (broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, green bell pepper, jicama, radish)
- 1 ½ cups uncooked whole grain rotini
- Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- 5 Roma tomatoes, peeled, chopped
- 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (garnish)
In a skillet, heat olive oil or butter over medium heat, add onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. Pour into a large pot. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add vegetables. Bring to a boil again then put on low heat. In another pot boil pasta for several seven minutes until cooked. Add pasta and tomatoes to vegetable mixture. Stir in spinach. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve hot sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and slices of warm whole grain bread and butter. Serves 6.
I love this soup—when I’m well (I froze some in case I get a cold this winter). Not only is it easy to put it together, it’s easy on the eyes and palate. It’s also the time to blast soup myths: You can use fresh tomatoes; forget canned goods. Some folks say broccoli and spinach in your soup can create a bitter taste—there is none left so I disagree.
Follow the store bought broth box directions and do not dilute. Add any of your favorite herbs for extra flavor. Making semi-homemade soup can be whipped up and dished up in less than 30 minutes. It’s not your mom’s soup—it’s fresh and with your stamp on it for the 21st century.
Motto: Go out of your comfort zone and create food from yesterday with a new, personalized spin for the health and taste of it.
Health perks about pairing olive oil and butter in The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, Revised and Updated (Kensington).