Monday, February 3, 2014

Healthy Veggie Soup

Ciao Amici's!  It has been faaaar too long since my last post!  I feel like I need to explain, or as Ricky Ricardo would say, "I have a lot of splainin' to do!"....while I do not typically make New Years resolutions, I do like to start the New Year off healthy.  So, for 2014, I wanted to start the year off right by following what I call a detox diet.  Basically, it was a few weeks of no fats, no carbs, no sugars, no alcohol, no food combining, NO FUN!!!  It's good though, and I am happy I did it, because it cleans your system and recalibrates everything.  Particularly if perhaps you overindulged during the holidays.  Nobody I know of course did that....I'm just saying that's the idea.  Why are you looking at me like that?!  Hey!  What happens in December, stays in December!

Moving on...that diet is Ovah! so I promise the posts and recipes are back!!!  Since I am coming off the detox diet, I wanted to have my first post of 2014 be something healthy.  Don't worry fellow Foodies, I will make up this healthy post by some comfort food posts in the near future!  This is one of my favorite light soups that can be made with the miscellaneous veggies in your fridge!  It is light, it is healthy, and it is delicious! 

First step is to add the olive oil to a dutch oven pan over medium high heat.

I am all about variety, in my food and in my life!  Let's start with the onion.  I like to cut the onion in half and chop half of it into small 1 inch pieces and slice the other half lengthwise into strips.  Add onions to pan to start sweating.
Ah, sweet beautiful fennel, one of my favorite vegetables!  I love this vegetable because it is delicious but also because it adds such depth of flavor to this soup!  You will taste a hint of anise in this delectable soup!  Cut the fennel bulbs in half and then cut out the small wedge at the center which is the heart and discard.  With the remaining bulb, cut into strips lengthwise and add to the onions in the pan.
Next, add the sliced mushrooms and broccoli to the pan and continue to stir and cook until onions and fennel start to turn translucent and mushrooms cook down a bit, about 10 minutes.
Cut the green beans in half, quarter and cube up the red potatoes, and slice and cube the zucchini and add to the pot.
Add 3 generous teaspoons of salt, 1 generous teaspoon of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes to pan.  Place 1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasonings into your palm and rub your two palms together over the veggies in your pan.  Add the two cans of chopped tomatoes (this is the part of the recipe where my Mom is going to freak out over me telling you to use tomatoes in a can).  Stir all contents to completely combine.  Add 4/12 cups of water to pan and stir again.
Mmmmm....looking and smelling good!  I like to reduce heat to medium and cover the pot 3/4 of the way.  Cook for 30 minutes.
Take a LARGE handful of fresh basil and chiffonade into small strips (about 1 cup worth).  Yes, we are using a LOT of basil in this!  Add to the pot, stir everything and cook for another 10 minutes until veggies are fork tender.  Taste test to see if it needs any more salt and pepper.
I like to serve it in a bowl alongside with some delicious herbed focaccia bread.  If you want to be healthy, there is your meal and you are good to go!  If you're feeling spicy, add a glass of delicious wine, I love a glass of Chardonnay with it.  If you are feeling totally randy, use it as justification to eat a whole box of Girl Scout cookies when you are done.  Remember, life IS all about balance my friends!

HEALTHY VEGGIE SOUP RECIPE:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into strips and 1" dice
2 small or 1 large fennel bulb, cored and sliced into 1" wide strips
1 quart of sliced mushrooms
1 large head of broccoli, broken up into florets
3/4 lb green beans, cut in half
1 lb red potatoes, quartered and cut into 3" cubes
2 zucchini, sliced down the middle and cut into 2"pieces
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 cans 14.5 oz diced tomatoes with garlic and seasoning
4 1/2 cups water
1 large handful of basil, cut into chiffonade
Add the olive oil to a dutch oven pan over medium high heat.

Cut the onion in half and chop half of it into small 1 inch pieces and slice the other half lengthwise into strips.  Add onions to pan to start sweating.  Cut the fennel bulbs in half and then cut out the small wedge at the center which is the heart and discard.  With the remaining bulb, cut into strips lengthwise and add to the onions in the pan.

Next, add the sliced mushrooms and broccoli to the pan and continue to stir and cook until onions and fennel start to turn translucent and mushrooms cook down a bit, about 10 minutes.  Cut the green beans in half, quarter and cube up the red potatoes, and slice and cube the zucchini and add to the pot.

Add 3 generous teaspoons of salt, 1 generous teaspoon of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes to pan.  Place 1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasonings into your palm and rub your two palms together over the veggies in your pan.  Add the two cans of chopped tomatoes.  Stir all contents to completely combine.  Add 4/12 cups of water to pan and stir again.

Reduce heat to medium and cover the pot 3/4 of the way.  Cook for 30 minutes.

Take a LARGE handful of fresh basil and chiffonade into small strips (about 1 cup worth).  Yes, we are using a LOT of basil in this!  Add to the pot, stir everything and cook for another 10 minutes until veggies are fork tender.  Taste test to see if it needs any more salt and pepper.

Serve with your favorite bread and a delicious glass of wine and enjoy my friends!


1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Robert! I'm going to try this. It looks so good. I have wanted to make soup all winter, but it didn't seem too appealing in the 80 degree temps we've had until lately. Grazie!

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