The soup pot is a well-used accessory in my kitchen, and this Very Veggie Soup is a staple. This particular soup is also the perfect way to ease into healthy-eating mode after, say, a period of over-indulging, making it a great New Year's Resolution dish. My sister-in-law Simona, a former restaurant cook in Italy and one of my kitchen mentors, created this dish, and I've adapted it over the years. Resist using old, wilted or wrinkly veggies -- this soup's clean, clear flavors require the freshest, best vegetables you can find. This is really more of a concept than a recipe -- choose your vegetables based on what's in season, what looks best at the market, and what you love. Feel free to add roasted chicken, cooked salmon or shrimp, or crispy prosciutto for a boost of protein and flavor. I recommend finishing this soup with a drizzle of excellent extra virgin olive oil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. - mariaraynal —mariaraynal
Test Kitchen Notes
Mariaraynal's Very Veggie Soup is, as she says below, both healthy and delicious. It comes together really easily -- you just clean and chop everything and throw it into the soup pot and then chop some more, and since you're blending it all together, precision is not necessary. (Although I think next time I might consider leaving the veggies in pieces -- when blended together, the soup has a greenish color that some may find unappetizing.) However, it is quite delicious. For serving, a squeeze of fresh lemon brightens up all the flavors. When you've had one of those weeks when you've eaten too much rich food, make yourself a pot of Very Veggie Soup. It's comfort and virtue in one delicious bowl. - drbabs —The Editors
large onion, thinly sliced
large carrots, sliced
stalks celery, sliced
Kosher salt, freshly grated black pepper and crushed red pepper, to taste
cloves garlic, sliced
head of broccoli, florets only
medium sized zucchini, sliced
Chicken stock, or to taste (preferably homemade stock)
15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
assorted herbs, such as basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley or sage, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to taste
Heat olive oil over medium flame in large soup pot. Add onion, carrots and celery and bay leaf, season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, and saute until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Add garlic and stir to combine.
Add broccoli and zucchini and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Toss in spinach leaves, place parmesan rind in soup pot and pour in enough chicken stock to cover vegetables.
Simmer soup for about an hour, stirring occasionally and skimming any foam off the surface. Add the beans and fresh herbs, simmer until warm.
Take the soup off the flame, remove the parmesan rind and bay leaf, and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or food processor.
I'm a self-trained home cook and freelance food writer who enjoys cooking and eating seasonally and locally whenever possible. When I travel, visiting the farmers' markets, local groceries and specialty food shops is as important as the shopping, museums and restaurants. I love to immerse myself in cookbooks, then go into the kitchen and experiment; and writing about food and the chefs who cook it is my latest pursuit. By day, I'm an executive speechwriter and event planner.