Inspired by the fabulous Vegan Lunchbox, and because I've done a bunch of meatful recipes in a row, I decided to post a recipe for veggie soup.
When J. and I first met, I was a pretty strict (ovo-lacto) vegetarian. Then one day I decided that I wanted to eat a hamburger and that was that. Lately I've been thinking about returning to the vegetarian fold. Maybe not as strictly as before (bacon), but perhaps striving for 90%. We'll see.
This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite soups, Gypsy Soup, from the Moosewood Cookbook (the photo is of Gypsy Soup). I give non-vegan options at the end.
EVERY-KIND-OF VEGETABLE SOUP WITH TOASTED ALMONDS AND "CHEDDAR"
Because this soup is vegetarian and flavored only by the vegetables, herbs, and spices, I think it is much better on the second day. Try to make it a day ahead of serving if you can.
4 glugs of extra-virgin olive oil
1 large chopped onion
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. smoky Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
A dash of cinnamon
A dash of nutmeg
A dash of cayenne
Veggies (any or all, I used all):
1 butternut squash, cubed
1 large yam cubed
4 medium zucchini, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
2 handfuls of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into one inch pieces
1 15 oz can of whole tomatoes and their juice
Set aside for later:
2 medium bell peppers (choose 2 different colors), diced
1 can of garbanzos or cannelini beans, rinsed
1 bag of pre-washed baby spinach
2 tbsps of brown sugar (optional)
2 tbsps of apple cider vinegar (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add onion, garlic, herbs and spices, and salt to taste and sauté over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, until onions are transluscent. Stir often.
Add veggies and enough cold water (depends on amount of vegetables) to cover them by 2 inches. Raise heat and bring soup to a simmer (not a full boil). Skim any foamy impurities that appear. Reduce heat to a bare simmer, and allow soup to develop flavors, at least an hour. (Keep tasting, you don't want it to be watery. If you cook it long enough, it won't be.)
About 10 minutes before serving, add in bell peppers, garbanzos and spinach (and sugar and vinegar if using—this gives the soup a nice, sweet tangyness). Cover and simmer for about 10 more minutes. Adjust salt and pepper, and serve topped with toasted, sliced almonds, and a sprinkling of cheddar Veggie Shreds.
Variations for non-vegetarians:
- Use chicken stock instead of water
- Add in a package of sliced pre-cooked chicken-apple sausage (Emeril's, Aidell's etc.) during last 10 minutes of cooking.
- Top with grated parmesan or cheddar cheese.
- Top with a large crouton (toasted, sliced baguette) shmeared with really good chevre