Saturday, September 3, 2016

Cozy Up with Mediterranean Vegetable Soup for Pre-Fall

By Cal Orey

Soup’s on! On a cool day or night it is a perfect time for hearty vegetable soup. Think plenty of fresh, seasonal vegetables and wholesome stock for a chunky semi-homemade dish... Garlic and onions, carrots and celery—fresh tomatoes—with whole grain rotini makes a pot of soup on the stove top a crowd-pleaser as a comfort food in your bowl for lunch or dinner.
            This recipe is inspired from my mother’s homemade vegetable soup. My version is like her batch but it’s meatless, fresh ingredients—except for the vegetable broth. Fast forward to present-day in the 21st century. After a trip to Canada, when I came home I was visited by a cold-flu bug. It was rest; juice; herbal tea, and vegetable soup that helped soothe the aches and cure sniffling. It was premium canned soup varieties I turned to, but vowed to make my own soup from scratch when I was back with the living. I hit the kitchen one afternoon. Using an all-natural organic store bought broth was amazing, especially with flavorful vinegar. Not only was it easy, the aroma in my cabin was sublime.

Mediterranean Vegetable Soup

* * *

½ tablespoon 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,
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (Heinz Red Wine Vinegar)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar (Nakano Natural Rice Vinegar)
1 ½ cups uncooked whole grain rotini
Sea salt and freshly ground black
pepper, to taste
½ cup fresh spinach, chopped
5 Roma tomatoes, peeled, chopped
½ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
In a skillet, heat olive oil or butter over medium heat, add onion and garlic. Sautee for a few minutes. Pour into a large pot. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add vegetables and vinegar. Bring to a bowl again then reduce heat to low. In another pot boil pasta for seven minutes until cooked. Add pasta and tomatoes to vegetable mixture. Stir in spinach. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve hot with sprinkled Parmesan cheese. A bowl of this soup pairs well with slices of a fresh, warm baguette. Serves six.
I love this soup. A splash of vinegar gives it a nice tangy flavor. Not only is it easy to put together, it’s easy on the eyes and palate. It’s also 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. I disagree. Follow the broth box directions and do not dilute. Add any of your favorite fresh herbs for extra flavor. It’s not your mom’s soup—it’s fresh and whipped up quickly to maintain the good-for-you antioxidant-rich ingredients.
(Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Vinegar, 3rd edition)

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