While it is starting to warm back up slightly, for the past few weeks it's been really really really cold. Well, it has been by Florida standards any way. So here is my hearty, go to meal when it's cold outside. It's quite easy, what I call a "chop and drop" recipe. Chop up whatever vegetables you have, and drop them into a pot.
Hearty Vegetable Soup:
- Olive oil
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 carrots
- 2-3 handfuls of escarole
- 1 can of white beans
- Veggie sausage of your choice
- 2 cartons of vegetable stock
- Fresh or dried herbs of your choice
Start out by chopping up the vegetables. It really doesn't matter if it's a dice or a rough chop, as long as all of the pieces are roughly the same size. Then chop up the sausage. Heat a saute pan. Pour in the olive oil and saute the onions and garlic. When the onion is soft, add the sausage and brown. Add the rest of your veggies into the saute pan, except for the escarole. While the veggies are sauteing, in a decent sized pot (one big enough to fit all of your veggies in addition to the liquid) fill with your vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. When the broth is simmering add the escarole and herbs. Add beans. Add all of your sauteed veggies and sausage. Let simmer for a few minutes. Either serve right away, or lower the heat and serve when ready.
Some tips about this recipe:
- The vegetables I listed were just a base. You can use whatever vegetables you want. Those are just my favorites and the ones I had on hand that day. Feel free to add or omit whatever vegetables you like.
- Even if you're cooking for one, don't be afraid to make a big pot of soup. It freezes well and is a great supper to reheat on nights you really just don't feel like cooking.
- Pasta, barley, rice, or any type of starch is also great in this soup. Just be sure not to add it too early or it'll be overcooked and mushy. For example, if your pasta takes 8 minutes to cook, throw it into the soup about 8 minutes before serving.