I’m in week four of my vegetarian conformation and, frankly, I’m loving it. I’m so focused on filling up on fresh vegetables and finding ways to use said vegetables that I feel newly challenged, like I need to find different ways to make them shine. Needless to say, I’m returning to some favorite cookbooks (new and old) and food blogs, but made this recipe up on my own.
A vegetable soup is not very inventive but as it always tastes different (depending on the veggies), it’s my standby at the end of a week when all that ripe produce needs a flavorful home fast. This one is substantial, filled with potatoes, whole wheat pasta, onions, parsnips and asparagus. I rarely use a recipe for a bowlful of heaven like this because most soups start the same way…
Add the flavor base: In this case, 1 chopped onion and 10 small sliced parsnip (my stand-in for carrots), along with fresh or dried herbs (my choice was rosemary and thyme sprigs, which I pulled out just before the “Season and serve” step), plus salt and pepper. Cook in olive oil over medium heat until softer, about 10 minutes.
Add the thick veggies that need to simmer for a while: In this case, about 1/2 pound of sliced potatoes.
Add liquid: I used homemade vegetable broth but you could use the store-bought sort, or just substitute with water. I think the stock adds more flavor. (Here’s a great blogger recipe for homemade vegetable stock.) In this case, I added about 6 cups of the broth, but you really want to just well cover the vegetables and add enough liquid to cover the soon-to-be-added food items. Boil and than simmer about 15 minutes.
Add the food items that will cook quickly: I had some fresh green asparagus and some leftover whole wheat pasta. Simmer no more than 10 minutes, as you don’t want the cooked pasta to turn to mush. Feel free to replace the pasta with leftover cooked rice.
Season and serve: Taste the soup and add enough salt and pepper to tease the pure flavor right out of the vegetables.
As this was a vegetable combo, there really wasn’t a need to cook the soup for too long. I piled the broth and veggies into a bowl and served with some homemade flat bread. I also had some tremendous Beet Leaf Pesto handy, so plopped a huge spoonful in the center of the veggie pile just before serving. The pesto swirled into the broth and added extra flavor. The husband also added some thinly sliced sausage, but I swear, I was not sad to skip the meat. The veggie broth was perfect just as it was.