Winter Italian Vegetable Soup
"I live on good soup, not fine words"
I love to make my own soup - it makes a perfect lunch on cold weather days and is a good way to lose a few pounds after the holidays. I've made quite a few soups in January and was very excited when my five year old requested vegetable soup for lunch.
Happily, this soup is ready in around 40 minutes. This is an italian soup, with a light tomato broth and cauliflower, carrots, kale, leeks and potatoes. I also add some red lentils for protein. I got the carrots, kale, and leeks fresh from our local farmers market. I ususally use baby chard for this soup, but the kale looked so good, I decided to give it a try. I was surprised to find it a big improvement flavor and texture wise and it was much easier to keep the green stuff out of my daughters helping.
I dislike chunks of tomatoes in my veggie soups so I add tomato flavor by including a spoonful or two of my favorite pasta sauce (my family like Trader Joe's Three Cheese Pasta Sauce) . My other flavor trick is to add a slice or two of finely chopped nacho-sliced jalapeno peppers. For this soup, I just added a single slice which spiced up the broth without giving away the source.
Here's the recipe:
2 large carrots sliced diagonally
8 little creamer potatoes, cut into quarters
1 onion, chopped
3 baby leeks, white parts sliced
1/4 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
5 leaves of kale, chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 slice of nacho-sliced jalapeno, finely chopped
6 cups water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons tomato pasta sauce
1/3 cup red lentils
salt and pepper, as desired
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed soup pan over medium heat and add the chopped onions. Turn the temp down and cook gently for 4-5 mins. Add the butter, along with the carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, and leeks. Cover and cook for 7-8 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Add the water, red lentils, pasta sauce, soy sauce, jalapeno, and kale. Season as desired. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, for 25-30 minutes. Adjust the seasonings and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.