Over the past week or so here in Minnesota, temperatures have been consistently below 0°, forecasters correctly predicted wind chills (how cold it feels outside) as low as -45°, and we’re now waiting for an ice/rain/snow storm. So, in other words, it’s basically your typical Minnesota January. The cold doesn’t bother me so much—I am a lifelong Midwestern—but I do miss things like heat, sunshine, warm weather clothing, and just the general ability to be outdoors for extended periods of time without having my breath taken away. Also, having to go out and warm up your car at 5:00 am on a Monday? Yeah, sucks.
One of the best things about this weather, though, is that it gives you the excuse to sequester yourself at home, lazily sip on warm coffee, watch guilty pleasure movies (Hello, Lifetime afternoons!)…and make batch after batch of soup.
My mom, also a fan of the coffee/Lifetime-afternoon combo, has an amazing vegetable soup recipe that I’ve literally been making over and over recently. It’s a great way to get your fiber and eat your veggies without feeling like your actually eating your veggies (in case you hate them like I do). It’s also an extremely easy, versatile recipe–hence why I never get sick of eating it.
Got a bunch of leftover veg hanging out in the fridge, about to spoil? You can put just about anything into this soup and it will turn out scrumptious. Like what, you ask? Well, the original recipe calls for your standard carrot/celery/potato combo. But I’ve made it with zucchini, summer squash (oh, summer…), green beans, swiss chard, and spinach and it has always been a winner. For something a bit heartier, you can also add meat—ground beef/turkey/chicken work great. Play around with the ingredients and the quantities; experiment!
So if the weather’s a little chilly where you are, or if you just want a new super healthy and hearty kick-butt soup recipe, give this one a shot—I promise it will warm your little heart right up!
Makes about 4 quarts
2 C yellow onion, diced
2 C carrots, diced
2 C celery, diced
2 summer squash
1 bunch swiss chard (remove leaves from stems)
2 15oz cans cannellini or black beans
2 qts crushed tomatoes
6 C water
3 tsp salt
½ tsp basil
½ tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp olive oil
- Dice all vegetables and drain and rinse the beans.
- In a large dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent.
- Add the rest of the vegetables, tomatoes, water and seasonings.
- Cover and let simmer for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.
- This soup can also be made in a crock-pot, simmering for 6-8 hours.