So something fun happened. My sister started cooking from the site. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? Except it would if you knew that 3 weeks ago she didn’t even know how to boil an egg or cook rice and now she’s successfully cooking real food for herself. She’s learning about whole grains, healthy cooking and eating and she’s doing it for herself.
Basically I consider my site successful now.
Granted, it’s been ‘successful’ for a while, but, like, actually seeing it help people? That’s the best. That’s the reason this site is here. To show you that cooking doesn’t have to be hard. Or fancy. Or expensive. And ‘healthy’ food can be really quite delicious like.. say.. this basic vegetable soup.
For years I hated soup. Not the taste! Just the physical act of making it. I hated it because I owned and ran a bakery/cafe that served lunch everyday which included a from-scratch soup that I made each morning. I hated it because I never wanted to serve lunch, but it’s what our customers wanted so we did it. The fact that I didn’t want to serve lunch and that I HAD to make soup just put a bad taste in my mouth.
Because of it, I didn’t eat soup except maybe 2 or 3 times a year. Yep. That drastic. Silly? Probably. But I also ate a strawberry poptart shortly after having major surgery on my stomach and having been restricted from food for over a week while it healed. In that time, my tastes had changed and the trauma made it really difficult for my body to process food. The result after eating a poptart? SO SICK. SOOOO SICK. And I never ate a strawberry poptart again. I think I might’ve eaten a s’mores one at some point in the last few years. But certainly not strawberry. Or Fiber One key lime yogurt. It just is what it is.
ANYWHO after enough time not owning a cafe and not having to make soup anymore, I went back to my beloved lunch. Guys, I love having soup for lunch. LOVE it. I ate soup or chili almost everyday for almost a year before opening the bakery and now, for the last couple of months I’ve been having some form of soup or chili for lunch almost daily (unless I go out).
For obvious reasons when it’s cold, soup screams comfort. Even better when it’s jam packed with vegetables to keep you feeling good all season. Sometimes I fancy creamed soups, sometimes something heartier with meat, beans, grains, etc. But more often than not, just pack it full of vegetables and I’m happy.
Here we have very basic things – zucchini, canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, cabbage and carrots seasoned with oregano and thyme, filled out with vegetable broth and topped with basil pesto. I usually also generously cover it in parmesan or asiago and dunk giant slices of buttered seedy bread in to the broth.
You can change up the veggies to whatever you have on hand or what you prefer, add some beans, grains, meats, different seasonings. Whatever you’re in the mood for. It turns out great every time, costs very little to make (depending on if you add meats of course) and keeps your belly happy and warm all afternoon. Don’t skip on the bread though. Buttered bread MAKES every meal. Seriously. I’d be lost without it.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 heaping tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 medium/large carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
- 6-8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1½ cups fresh or frozen green beans, chopped
- 2 medium zucchini, diced
- 3-4 cups shopped green cabbage
- 2-3 tbsp basil pesto + more to serve
- shredded asiago or parmesan, to serve
- Heat olive oil in large pot over high heat.
- Once hot, add the onion and saute for 5-7 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, oregano and thyme and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently until slightly browned.
- Add the carrots, canned tomatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil the reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes then add the green beans, cabbage and zucchini. Bring back to a simmer, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until all of the vegetables are soft.
- Stir in the pesto and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve hot with extra pesto, cheese and buttered bread (or grilled cheese!)
Feel free to use whatever veggies you prefer/have on hand.
Add cooked beans, grains, meat, etc. If you so wish!