How To Warm Your Body & Soul With Hearty Veggie Soup
“Only the pure in heart can make a good soup”
Ludwig van Beethoven
Soup has always had a special place in my heart. Where I grew up, cold season lasted from October till April. So, eating soup was an affordable, healthy and guilty-free pleasure. My parents always cooked soup for me as they religiously believed in its goodness. It is not a secret, that borsch(t) (tomato, beet & cabbage soup) has always been a popular soup in Ukraine and Russia. When I moved to the US, I faced two major challenges: 1. My Husband does not like borscht 2. American soup is mostly cream soup, which is served in tiny bowls with tasteless crackers and no sour cream (a big disappointment for any Russian soul)… Nothing wrong with cream soups if one makes them at home. What do I dislike in cream soups served elsewhere? I do not see the ingredients. How can I be sure something weird did not get in? brrr…
There were some other options like Italian Minestrone, a popular broccoli cheddar soup and multiple creamy soups that did not inspire me at all. Not ready to give up, I decided to approach to cooking soup in a creative way in order to please my husband and satisfy my gastronomic demands. I came up with this version, which I slowly introduced into our diet (so that my husband would not know he was slightly deceived:-) Why deceived? Because when I tried my soup, I realized that it tasted so close to my so-much-loved borscht! With the only exception that it had neither cabbage no beet root (maybe that’s why my husband did not like borsch in the first place?)
I am itching to share my recipe with you as I know you will love it! Yes, so bold confident. When it is getting chilly in Florida and crispy cold in most other states, what will warm your body and soul other than an old good soup? As with any cooking, being creative in making soup is a must. However, I encourage you to try my recipe first.
Ingredients/Products I use:
– 2 liters filtered water (0.53 US gal). I use this water filter and am very happy with the results. Even tea kettle has no residue and requires NO cleaning after using filtered water.
– 3 large organic potatoes.
– organic angel hair pasta (adjust amount for desired thickness of soup). I used a quarter of this package or even less.
– 2 medium to large organic onions. I use red/white, whichever is available.
– 1 large organic carrot
– 1 large pesticide-free pepper (from Fresh Market)
– 1 stem/stalk/florette of broccoli
– 2 medium pesticide-free tomatoes (from Fresh Market)
– handful of veggie mix (frozen). It is optional. You can use non-frozen veggies featured in this mix, but I use this mix for convenience.
– can of crushed tomatoes, organic. You can also try using different tomato sauces, that you use for pasta. My favorite one is Tomato & Basil organic sauce by Muir Glen.
– spices: ground black pepper, ground paprika, dill weed, allspice, garlic & herb spice, cumin, asafoetida and some GMO-free freebie spice mix I got at the Fresh Market (not shown in the photo. I’ll get more information about it and add it later).
– pinch of brown sugar.
– fresh herbs: basil, tarragon, 2 red chilli peppers (patio grown) plus parsley, cilantro, scallions (missing here as I forgot it) and 3 cloves of garlic. All these ingredients should be added at the end of cooking.
– grapeseed oil for sauteing veggies.
– organic sour cream. I love Organic Valley.
Use a stainless steel pot for making a healthy soup. I have been using this brand for more than a year and love it! It is healthy, safe and durable.
Peel and cut potato in small chunks, add it to cold water and bring to boil, then reduce heat and continue on a low heat for 20-25 minutes.
Closer to the end of cooking potato, in about 15 minutes after you start cooking it, add some angel hair pasta. I break long pasta in the middle, making it twice shorter, as it is easier to eat it:-)
While potato is cooking, wash and chop all veggies. I also use stainless steel pan for sauteing the veggies. I normally start with sauteing onions, followed by carrot chunks, sweet pepper slices and broccoli chunks. Stir them occasionally not to overfry them. When they become soft and slightly fried, add chunks of tomato and let them release their juices. Keep stirring and add a handful of frozen veggies (peas, corn, green beans/french beans, carrots). Use wooden flat spatula with straight end for easy stirring. Now is the time to add salt and spices. Taste often to avoid putting too much (salt). Once frozen veggies melt, pour out a whole can of organic crushed tomatoes. Watch the heat (veggie & tomato mixture should not splash all over the place). As soon as the mixture starts boiling, you may turn it off and empty it into the soup pot.
Now let a reunited soup slowly come to a boil on a low heat. It won’t take long. Just enough time to slice all fresh herbs: parsley, cilantro, scallions, tarragon, basil as well as garlic cloves and 2 small red chili peppers with seeds. I may sometimes add a pinch of brown sugar for taste. After adding the spices you may let the soup simmer for couple minutes and turn it off. If your soup lacks salt and spices, add more right into the main pot. All spices/herbs should be added before you turn off the heat. Now is the time to indulge into the richness and goodness of taste and warmth!
I recommend serving it with sour cream (1-2 tablespoons per each bowl) and bagel chips or croutons.
It should serve 4-5. Remaining soup (when cooled down) can be stored in the fridge in glass containers up to 4 days. Reheating is easy in a stainless steel pan:
Feel free to adjust this recipe according to your dietary needs!
Here are some more photos of this soup cooked at different times. One is served with shaved Parmesan cheese on top. Very delicious!
Enjoy your healthy meals!
Are you craving my soup yet?:-) Let me know how it comes out and if you have any questions or suggestions!
Share and Enjoy