One of the benefits of the Temple’s administrative office being closed for remodel (outside of getting a beautiful new work space of course) is that I was able to come home to Ohio for a week to visit my family. Coming home for any amount of time always feels rushed, like I am trying to squeeze too much into too little time. I never get to see everyone or do all the things I would like.
I do get to eat a lot though. Usually my mom will make one of my favorite dinners or my sisters and I will go to lunch at one of my favorite restaurants. My sister Ash almost always bakes something amazing. I almost never cook while I’m here, but this time was different. My dad recently had some dental work done and is pretty much on a soft food diet. He does not cook much so he has mostly been eating Jello, yogurt, and pudding.
I wanted to do something nice for him, so I decided that I was going to make soup. I put it out on Facebook that I was looking for vegetarian soup recipes and scoured the Food Network website until I found one that I thought would work. And work it did. This Tuscan Vegetable Soup is so easy to make and mostly importantly super delicious. It was such a big hit I ended up making another batch for him.
I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, I added a little extra garlic and used dried thyme instead of fresh. At the table we each added a little more salt and pepper. The best part about this recipe is that it is pretty flexible. You could swap out the veggies listed for your favorites or switch to kidney beans if you wanted. But I have to say it was pretty awesome as is. This will definitely become a go-to for me on a cold winter night!
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium canellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 stalks celery, diced, (about 1/2 cup)
1 small zucchini, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional
In a small bowl mash half of the beans with a masher or the back of a spoon, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the broth and tomatoes with the juice and bring to a boil. Add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach leaves and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes more.
Serve topped with Parmesan, if desired.
Carrie Rosen is the Temple Sholom new girl, joining the staff in April as the Fund Development Coordinator and Executive Assistant to Boni Fine. She is a sometimes vegetarian.