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.

IMAG0736.jpg

 

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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