So much better than the canned stuff.... I usually make this toward the end of the summer, when I can use the freshest of vegetables from the garden and the farmer's market, and freeze it in serving-size containers. But it is still good using winter-market or frozen vegetables. It's a forgiving recipe: vegetable types and amounts can be varied, depending on availability and taste. If you want a less chunky, more liquidy soup, you can add more broth (homemade broth is better). The chopping may seem like a lot of work -- but think the Zen art of food prep, and think of the ultimate reward. On the other hand, if you must, you may use a food processor very carefully (which I did this past summer when recuperating from eye surgery). Even vegetable-phobes (I won't reveal any names -- especially of a certain spousal type who claims to hate just about every vegetable in the soup, with the possible exception of carrots and corn -- will eat this happily. —louisez
garlic cloves, minced
stalks celery, diced
medium carrots, diced
medium parsnips, diced
small-medium zucchini, diced
small-medium (yellow) summer squash, diced
diced green beans, or combination green and wax beans
corn, cut from the cob
broth (vegetable or chicken)
chopped tomatoes (or 14.5-oz.can, with juice)
alphabet noodles, cooked slightly less than package directions, and drained well
sprigs thyme, tied together with kitchen string for easy removal
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
red wine vinegar
In This Recipe
Heat oil in soup pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and parsnips, and saute till vegetables begin to soften (this may take 20-30 minutes). Add tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, vinegar, broth, and bring to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, till vegetables are tender (this should take 30-45 minutes).
Add zucchini, summer squash, green beans, peas, and corn. Cook, uncovered, till these vegetables are tender (about 10-15 minutes).
Add spinach and cook a few minutes, until spinach is wilted. Remove bay leaves and thyme twigs.
Add noodles. Cook a minute or two, to heat through.
Soup will improve in flavor if refrigerated overnight, if you can wait that long.