Well-Stocked Vegetable Soup

by feastonthecheap on April 5, 2011

Mary Anne here. Recently I had an abundance of leftover veggies in my crisper – remnants of the Osso Bucco and Corned Beef and Cabbage I made mid-March. I had dutifully saved all scraps from these veggie-heavy feasts, so transorming the odd leek, cluster of carrots, strained tomato juice and fresh horseradish into yet another well-rounded meal was practically a no-brainer. This satisfying soup sustained me for several nights; warming me while the raw March winds howled through the cracks in my casement windows. And speaking of heat, that leftover knob of horseradish was an incredible addition to the broth adding a bit of bite without overwhelming the rich flavor. If this gnarly root isn’t in your well-stocked larder, consider tossing it into your cart during your next trip to the market. I’ve been finding all sorts of uses from spiced-up mayo to raw slices on my dinner salad, not to mention the errant Bloody Mary…

Generally, I keep homemade stock in the freezer, but recently I discovered that the “Health Food” section at my local grocer’s has boxed vegetable, beef, and chicken stock (NOT broth) on their shelves, and the sodium count is definitely lower than its canned cousin. For this feast, I loaded up on pre-made stock since it was on sale for $2.50/quart. I was short on time and it served beautifully as the base. Everything else for this potage was plucked from my fridge or pantry.

Our version of vegetable soup is quite similar to a Minestrone (and there are plenty of adaptations out there), but I opted to keep it vegetarian and skip the prosciutto and salted pork. Rather than ladling the finished product over thick slices of fresh Tuscan bread, I added whole wheat pasta to the pot, but you don’t have to be wedded to my list of ingredients. If you have any leftover kale lurking in your crisper, swap it in for the spinach. Potatoes would be a welcomed addition, as would beans, fresh green peas and diced tomatoes. There’s no wrong way to create a vegetable soup!

Psst…we have an AWESOME Le Creuset giveaway in the works. So good, we kinda hope we win. More details on Thursday.

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Well-Stocked Vegetable Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons olive oil – stock
5 carrots, peeled and sliced into ½ inch rounds – stock
1 small Vidalia onion, diced – stock
4 stalks of celery, trimmed and chopped – stock
1 leek, the white part and about 1-inch of the pale green leaves, (rinsed thoroughly of sand) chopped – stock
2 cloves of garlic, minced – stock
2 Tablespoons freshly grated horseradish (optional) – stock
½ cup flat parsley leaves, chopped – stock
½ lb. fresh or frozen spinach, chopped – stock
2 quarts vegetable stock – $5.00
2 cups tomato juice – stock
heel/rind of parmesan cheese (optional) – stock
½ teaspoon dried oregano – stock
1 teaspoon dried basil – stock
1 Bay leaf – stock
15 oz. can Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained – $0.99
15 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained – $0.99
6-8 oz. cooked whole-wheat pasta (Ditalini, elbow macaroni, or tiny shells work well and totally optional
Garnish:
¼ cup fresh horseradish, grated (optional)
grated Parmesan cheese – stock
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Pantry: $6.98
Total Per Serving: $1.16

Directions:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Sauté the onion, celery, leek, and carrots over medium-high flame until the onion is soft. Stir in the garlic and the 2 Tablespoons of fresh grated horseradish. Sauté an additional 5 minutes.

2. Add the spinach and chopped parsley to the vegetables and sauté over medium flame for 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomato juice, vegetable stock, Parmesan rind (if you have one), basil, oregano, and Bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Cover and simmer over low flame for 40 minutes.

5. Stir in the Garbanzo and kidney beans, as well as the cooked pasta, if using. Heat through.

6. Before serving, remove the Parmesan rind and the Bay leaf. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan and fresh horseradish.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz @ Blog is the New Black April 5, 2011 at 7:26 am

Nothing like using up goods that were about to go to vegetable heaven in a delicious, warming soup!

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Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. April 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm

oh wow! Looks fantastic! A must try!

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Maria April 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm

It is cold here too:( I might have to make this for dinner. Looks wonderful!

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Chelsea @ Sprinkles of Parsley April 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I love minestrone- it’s my favorite soup! So healthy and full of nutrients. Love how you added horseradish… I never would have thought to do that, but I bet it was fantastic!

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feastonthecheap April 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I’m telling you, the fresh horseradish is my newest passion! I can’t believe how versatile it is and it turns what might otherwise be a satisfying but somewhat ho-hum dish into a real star! As I said in my post, I’ll be hard pressed to go back to the pickled-jar variety. And bonus – it stays fresh (un-peeled) for at least 3 weeks. Hope you love it as much as we do!

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Marly April 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Love it!

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Jeanette April 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm

I love this soup, so full of vegetables and beans, and such a great way to clean out the fridge. Perfect for these transitory days of spring.

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Mandy - The Complete Cook Book April 6, 2011 at 5:59 am

Yummy! Love hearty soups like this. Wonderful recipe.
:-) Mandy

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Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food April 6, 2011 at 9:12 am

A thick and hearty veggie soup is my idea of dinner time heaven, and you’ve provided such a beautiful recipe for one here. Plus, running down your list of ingredients, I also see that, except for the fresh horseradish root, all of them are staples I always keep on hand in the pantry and fridge. If only our “spring” here hadn’t already intensified to a summer-like swelter, I’d whip up a batch of this soup right now. Just splendid!

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Steve @ HPD April 6, 2011 at 11:51 am

“Soup?” he says. “Who wants soup, now?”

And then it snowed.

Twice.

And again a few days later.

“Bring me my soup!” he says, conceding defeat.

Cheers.

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thx

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Nutmeg Nanny April 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Not only does your vegetable soup look comforting it’s gorgeous! I also love that you threw in some chick peas. They are my favorite!

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