Monday, July 11, 2011

Very Veggie Soup

Our favorite restaurant ever is a very unassuming establishment, some might even call it a hole-in-the-wall. They have a small and rather simple salad bar, and inexplicably, it is the best salad bar my husband and I have ever eaten at. They always have a large crock full of the same vegetable soup that is amazingly delicious, and after I tasted this recipe when I was done, it reminded me of that particular soup. I used no meat products, only one tablespoon of olive oil, vegetables and homemade vegetable stock, and yet it had a richness to it you might find in a soup using beef and/or beef stock.

This is another recipe where you can adjust the vegetables you use depending on what you like and what you find at the store, farmers market or in your garden. I can't wait for my red bell peppers to start popping up in the garden--the organic ones at my grocery store are up to $6 for a two-pack, and even though this recipe is dirt cheap, I can't bring myself to pay $3 for a small bell pepper just on principle (apparently the $2.50 each I paid last week was my limit). So I went for the regular ones that were on sale. Later this summer, I will be able to pick every vegetable I used here out of my garden, and I hope to freeze and can enough vegetables to be able to make several batches of soup over the winter as well.

Very Veggie Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb green beans, cut in half or thirds (about 2 cups)
3 carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 med zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, NOT drained
4 - 6 cups homemade vegetable stock (or whatever stock you've got)
1 Tbsp fresh parsely (or 1 tsp dried)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat.  Add carrots and saute for about 3 minutes. Add all other vegetables, parsley, salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and theor liquid and stock (add 4 cups to start and see if that's enough liquid for your taste, add more if necessary). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until vegetables are of desired tenderness.

This is how nice and rich the vegetable stock was right after I made it.

Green beans: $1.89/lb, used 1/2 lb = $.95
Tomatoes: On sale for $.99/14.5 oz can = $.99
Zucchini: On sale for $1.26/lb, used 8 oz = $.63
Carrots (organic): $1.98/2 lb bag, 3 carrots is approximately 1/6 of bag = $.33
Onion: $.75/lb, used 9 oz = $.42
Celery: $1.18 per bunch, 3 stalks is 1/4 of bunch = $.30
Bell pepper (red): On sale for $.77/each = $.77

Total Cost: $4.39
Six Servings: $.73 per serving
Eight Servings: $.55 per serving

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