Monday, February 1, 2010

Vegetable Soup (With Optional Sausage for the Men)

The vegetable soup purists out there are going to groan.  I never understand why many vegetable soups aren't truly vegetarian...many use chicken or beef broth and then sometimes even chunks of beef meat in the soup.  Why the heck is it even called vegetable soup, then??

The recipe that I was using started out almost purely vegetarian (it called for chicken broth but you can easily substitute vegetable broth to make it truly vegetarian) and in my mind the potatoes and all the veggies should add quite a bit of "substance".  But then, I thought about my husband and his NEED to have meat in a meal.  He complains that "soup runs right through" him as it is - including the really rich, filling, meaty soups like chili!  So I gave in and added some sliced smoked sausage to the broth but you don't have to.  That's why I'm calling this one Vegetable Soup (With Optional Sausage for the Men).  Because if the man (men) if your life are anything like mine, they will protest about the lack of meat in this soup!

As you already know I'm a soup fanatic.  This one was no different.  I made a few modifications (such as adding the sausage, reducing the amount of oil used to sautee the veggies, adding some beans for extra fiber, and adding a splash of red wine for depth - a tip I learned from my favorite Minestrone Soup recipe).  I think this one is a keeper.  A nice lighter soup that's quick to put together.  Don't forget that soup is also very forgiving...don't have an ingredient on hand?  Leave it out or use something else.  When all else fails, frozen veggies are your friend :).

Vegetable Soup (With Optional Sausage for the Men)
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Serves 4
Hands-On Time: 20m
Total Time: 40m

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 14.5-ounce cans low-sodium chicken broth (substitute low-sodium vegetable broth if you prefer to make this truly vegetarian)
  • 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (substitute tomato sauce if you want less chunky soup)
  • 1/4 pound green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 cup)
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 14.5 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 smoked sausage, sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (optional)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  1. Warm the oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, water, red wine, potatoes, thyme, and salt. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, 15 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, green beans, kidney beans, sausage, and broccoli and cook 5 to 10 minutes more or until all the vegetables are tender.  Ladle into bowls and serve hot.  Sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.
Source: Modified from Real Simple Magazine, February 2003