Through the years, people have routinely asked me for this recipe. Until now, that’s been a problem – like many of the things I prepare, I have to respond “The recipe is in my head.” When I make this tasty and filling soup, I use whatever I have in my fridge, freezer or cupboards at the time. Then I keep adjusting it until it tastes good.
No two batches are ever the same taste. But that too applies to much of my cooking and baking. For me, recipes are merely suggestions. I don’t always limit myself to the structure of using measuring cups and spoons. I think it would work best if I had my own personal scribe following me around my kitchen and recording the measurements of my ingredients.
Even with California’s unpredictable temperatures, January usually brings the perfect type of weather to make a bowl of nutritious and warm soup. So here’s my best attempt at putting down my vegetable soup recipe on paper.
- 2 Tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced and also throw in the chopped leaves
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- From here, add whatever veggies you have in the fridge or freezer: zucchini, corn kernels and chopped broccoli frequently show up in my soup pot -- but so do Brussels Sprout, , cauliflower, bell pepper and kale.
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped or 1 heaping teaspoon dried basil
- 1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes (I like the kind with added Italian herbs or fire roasted) – don’t drain
- 1 14-ounce can of no salt/reduced salt black beans, rinsed
- 2 quarts low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 12-ounce package beefless ‘ground beef’
- Heat stock pot over medium heat, add EVOO.
- Add the onions and saute until translucent.
- Add carrots, celery, garlic, other veggies and a pinch of fresh ground black pepper. Saute for 8 minutes or until the veggies are soft. Add the basil, oregano and saute for 2 more minutes.
- Add the tomatoes with their juices, beans, and stock.
- Turn heat up to high, bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 to 60 minutes.
- I like to simmer this long because it helps all the flavors blend and makes the house smell good.
- Add the ‘ground beef’ the last 15 minutes.