Friday, April 16, 2010

Italian Harvest Vegetable Soup

Italian Harvest Vegetable Soup

A rule of thumb whenever you are trying to prepare a healthy meal is to try and add as many colors as possible to whatever dish you are making. The more fruits and vegetables that you add to a meal increase the number of vitamins and antioxidants that your body is able to use. This dish is becoming one of our household's favorite because it tastes good and it is jam-packed with an assortment of vegetables. I got this recipe out of a magazine awhile back and I had added a few different ingredients for a different flavor. This recipe can be adjusted to taste, but provides a good foundation for a healthy soup. I'm still tinkering with the herbs and seasonings to get it to the right flavor for us, but here is what worked last time.

                                                Italian Harvest Vegetable Soup

• 2 c chopped celery

• 2 large carrots, sliced

• 1 large onion (I used 1/2 of one onion and it worked for us)

• 2 tbs olive oil

• 4 medium cloves minced garlic

• 1/2 red bell pepper sliced thin

• 1/2 green bell pepper sliced thin

• 6 c water

• 1 28 oz can of tomatoes (recipe asks for diced or fire roasted undrained, but I used stewed Italian)

• 1 c corn kernels

• 1 tsp whole fennel seed

• 1 tsp dried oregano

• 1/2 tsp dried thyme

• 1/2 tsp dried rosemary

• 4-5 oz fresh baby spinach leaves (I used frozen and they turned out nicely)

• 1 sm zucchini sliced 1/4-1/2 inch

I added a little bit of chicken bouillon (I don't measure what I add so you'll have to adjust to your flavor). I didn't have vegetable stock handy so chicken bouillon was the alternative. I recommend vegetable broth for flavor and health reasons; it has less sodium than chicken bouillon. I also added in some more herbs and seasonings, but I didn't record them.

1. Chop celery, carrots, and onion into 1/2 inch dice.

2. Heat oil on medium -high in a large, heavy bottom pot. Add celery, carrots, and onion. Sautee until edges are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and bell peppers. Stir frequently for 1-2 minutes, then add water, tomatoes, corn, fennel, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Add spinach and zucchini, simmer another 5 minutes, salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

This is the recipe from the magazine, but feel free to tinker with it as you wish.  Happy eating!