Winter Vegetable Soup

Winter Vegetable Soup

Happy 2015, everybody!

As I reflected on what my New Year Resolutions would be, I came back to the one thing I vowed to do more of last year: write. I am kicking it up a notch this year and plan to also update this blog at least a couple times a week.

For you guys that enjoy reading this blog, you’re welcome.

I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone: I like cooking and I love writing, so why not do more of both?

Another resolution of mine is to start cooking more healthy dishes (but biscuits and gravy are soo good!, I thought), so I thought what better first blog post to feature in the new year than a vegetable soup I recently made?

Last month, I came across this “winter vegetable”soup from MyRecipes online and was instantly intrigued.

But I’ll admit it: When I saw that cinnamon was an ingredient in this soup, I was a bit hesitant to try it. Veggies? Sure. Cinnamon? Ehh. I wasn’t buying it.

Boy, was I glad I did. The addition–even though a small one–of cinnamon really kicks it up a level that I can’t quite describe. Infusing cinnamon with the basil, thyme, garlic, and all of the vegetables turned it into something beautiful.

Winter Vegetable Soup cooking on stove.

Something that I’d love to have again on a cold winter’s day. My husband? Not so much! He wasn’t a big fan of it in general, though I told him he may just need some more time to get used to it. Or maybe not.

Either way, I know this is a soup I’ll definitely make again. I may just have to make a whole pot for myself, though. Oh, shucks.

The only changes I made to the recipe were:

  • Used onion powder instead of actual onion
  • Did not use acorn squash
  • Used dry beans instead of canned beans (I always advise this — cheaper this way!)
  • Incorporated some of the cooked dry bean water into the soup for more creaminess w/beans

So, here it is: an interesting, hearty, and delicious twist on a winter vegetable soup. Did I mention it’s a “light” soup AND with a lot of healthy stuff like kale? See for yourself why I enjoyed this soup so much!

Winter Vegetable Soup

[TOTAL COOKING TIME: ABOUT 30 MINUTES]

Ingredients:

  • 1 TSP olive oil
  • 2 oz pancetta, chopped
  •  1 TBSP onion powder (or, if you’re an onion fan, use 1 cup chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups red potato, peeled & diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 TSP dried basil
  • 1/4 TSP ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 TSP dried thyme
  • 1 (28-oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 (14.5-oz) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups kale, chopped
  • 3/4 to 1 cup dried lima or navy beans, soaked, rinsed

Directions:

  • After properly sorting, rinsing, and soaking dry beans (I usually do this overnight), cook beans with water on stove top. I consulted this handy guide to cooking beans. And yes, I left the lid slightly ajar to get the creamy factor for the beans. 🙂
  • When beans are finished cooking, transfer beans and bean water to a bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; saute 3 minutes
  • Add garlic cloves; saute 3 minutes
  • Add next 6 ingredients (potato through thyme), stirring to combine. Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add tomatoes, cook 2 minutes
  • Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes
  • Add kale; simmer 5 minutes. Add beans and what’s left of the bean water back into pot, simmer 4 minutes or until potato and kale are tender. If you’re wondering about why I saved the bean water, go here or a great explanation of why you shouldn’t waste it.

Notes

  • If you are using dried beans like I did, be sure to have enough time in the day to allow them to cook. They can take anywhere from an hour to three hours, so be patient!
  • This soup turned out pretty chunky to me the fist go-round. Next time, I’d add a bit more broth/liquid of some sort. I also think doing without the potatoes could help.
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