Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

December 21st, 2020
Serves 4

I have said this before, and I’ll probably say it again. My boys love soups any time of the year, but especially in the fall and winter months. Since we have the roaring fire pit on most weekends now, there is nothing better than sitting, chatting, laughing, and reminiscing about vacations, movies, and family events with a blanket around our shoulders and a hot bowl of nutritious soup warming our hands and our stomach at the same time. Since changing my eating habits to a more nutrient dense way of eating which includes

mainly vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and small amounts of lean proteins, I can’t remember the last time I had the flu or even a cold. I know most people are rushing for their flu shots this time of year, but my flu shot is eating healthy with lots and lots of fresh vegetables and fruits each and every day.

Nutrition wise, how can you go wrong with this recipe? Look at the list of fresh bounty in this soup: carrots, celery, onions, leeks, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, kidney beans, and fresh herbs. It’s loaded with vitamins A, B, C, E, K, and minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, selenium, and folate. With over five grams per serving of protein, medium amounts of carbohydrates, and very low in fat, it’s a great fall or winter soup to be enjoyed on cold dark evenings as a favorite comfort dish.

Vegetable Soup
Serves 4

2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cups carrots, washed and cut into small dice
1 cup celery, washed and cut into small dice
½ cup onions, peeled and wash, finely chopped
1 cup leeks, washed and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 cup wild mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 cup fresh tomatoes, washed and chopped into small dice
1 cup baby spinach, washed
1 cup kidney beans, rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fresh
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

How to make:
Take a large sauce pan, and place it on a medium heat on the stove. Pour in the oil, and add the first five ingredients. Place a lid on the pan, and allow the vegetables to sweat for 4 to 5 minutes without color.
Remove the lid and stir the vegetables together. Add the bay leaf and tomato pastes. Stir well. Pour in the vegetables stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients. Cook for 5 more minutes to wilt the spinach and warm though the tomatoes and beans. Give one last stir, and serve. This will serve six light portions for lunch, and four large, hearty, dinner size portions.

Chef Mark