Autumn Vegetable Soup

Cooking With Co-Op Basics: Simple Vegetable Soup

Course: Main Dish, Soup

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Cuisine: Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Servings: 4

 

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 1 celery stalks, chopped

  • 1 Bag Sno-Pac Mixed Vegetables (or vegetable of choice)*

  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic (bulk item)

  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning blend (bulk item)

  • 1 can diced tomatoes*

  • 3 cups vegetable, chicken, or beef broth

  • 1 tsp salt, to taste (bulk item)

  • 2 bay leaves (bulk item)

  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (bulk item)

  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper, to taste

  • 1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained (reserve liquid separately) or 1 cup dried beans cooked up to 4 days prior (see note).*

  • 2 cups fresh kale roughly chopped with tough ribs removed separately and finely chopped

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*Indicates Co-Op Basics Item

Instructions

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.

  2. Add the granulated garlic and Italian Seasoning. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Pour in the diced tomatoes and frozen vegetables and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.

  3. Pour in the kale stems, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 2 bay leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

  4. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and add the great northern beans and the chopped kale. Continue simmering for 10 minutes, until the greens have softened to your liking.

  5. Remove the pot from heat, then remove the bay leaves. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

 

Note on cooking beans: Soak beans overnight in enough liquid to cover 3-4 inches above beans. Drain. Slow cook with enough water to cover by 2 inches. To maximize effort, consider cooking enough beans for multiple meals and freezing or refrigerating extra. Beans will keep 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Alternative uses include bean spread or hummus, adding to salads, or bulking up sauteed vegetables or to compliment meat or grains.

 

Flavor Alternatives: this recipe is meant to be adapted to your own tastes and mood so you don't get bored. Consider substituting other seasoning blends (curry powder, garam masala, herbs de provence) to change the flavor profile. Wilty greens that you think are too soft for salad or peeled stems of broccoli, stems of collards, mustards or other greens can be substituted for the kale. Any other preferred frozen vegetable can be substituted.

 

For a heartier version and if your budget allows, add 2 cups diced potatoes or sweet potatoes or other root vegetables in during step 3. Or 2 cups pre-cooked pasta or grains (barley or rice) can be added during the final 5 minutes of the simmer. Add an additional teaspoon of salt to accommodate these additions.

Freezing Tomatoes

Some posts on this site will be full of stories and information. Others, like this one, are meant to show you what I preserve, how I do it, and how I use it. They may repeat across multiple recipes throughout the winter. This one for sure will. I present to you: frozen tomatoes.

Tomatoes are one of those annoying things that I only like to can for salsa or jam or something specific and special. I've grown tired of the traditional tomato preserving method, which I'll outline below briefly:

  1. Score the tomatoes with a knife - making an "X" on the bottom.
  2. Dip for 30 seconds into boiling water.
  3. Toss into ice water for a minute or so - working in batches so the water stays cold.
  4. Slip the skins off the tomato and set aside if you want to use them for dehydrating or something.
  5. Remove seeds over a fine sieve or colander set inside a larger pan or bowl to reserve liquid.
  6. Can diced, pureed or whole with added lemon juice or other acid based on which recipe you're using. Can using a traditional water bath canning process.

See? That's too much for me when I'm busy canning salsas and compotes and pickled or blanching other things. I also really like not having to add lemon juice or acid. Instead, I slice the tomatoes in half length-wise, de-seed the same as in step 5 above, leaving the skins on. I freeze the tomatoes on a cookie sheet overnight, throw into freezer bags and open it up whenever I need 2-3 tomatoes. The texture softens but it would be pretty comparable to that of any canned tomato.

Suggested Uses:

Throw frozen tomatoes in the oven to roast and use for pasta sauce, salsa or soups.

Puree for curries or to add to Mexican Rice or to slow cook with proteins or vegetables.

Transparency/Affordability Note:

The reason for all this preserving? Tomatoes are incredibly affordable in the late summer months compared to fresh or canned in the fall/winter/spring. There's a level of investment here that should be noted, however.  I usually spend about $160 on tomatoes for an entire year's supply, including what I use in other recipes. This does not include tomatoes I grow myself.

Remember you can buy "seconds" of tomatoes that might be cosmetically imperfect (ugly) or have a tiny bruise or spot on them that is easy to cut out. That spot will probably save you money in the long run and the flavor is the same if not better than your grocery store variety.