Fall days are meant for cruising through farmers' markets to find goodies for homemade concoctions. I love soups - but only when it's cool enough to enjoy them - which is, finally, now. There is something oh so grounding and soothing in the preparations of a totally-made-from-scratch meal. Life slows down and becomes more gentle as you shred, peel, chop, and stir a symphony of smells and tastes. Put a little French Cafe on Pandora in the background, warm up a cup of Jasmine green tea, and you've got the makings for a superbly relaxing Saturday after an early morning hour workout.....
Tuscan Vegetable Soup: (Go for organic and fresh from the farm when you can. Except for the kidney beans, chicken broth, and stewed tomatoes, everything in this batch came from local farms, grown in our spectacular Southern California sun.... Recipe follows. I don't mind sharing.)
Tuscan Vegetable Soup, the recipe:
1 Tbsp. organic virgin olive oil
1 1/2 c. chopped onion (I like the sweeter Maui type....)
1 1/2 tsp. thyme (dried; if you use fresh, triple the amount)
ground pepper, dash of oregano if you like
3 tsps. mined garlic (or coarsely chopped if you really like garlic!)
4 c. coarsely chopped green cabbage
14.5 oz can of stewed tomatoes (I used a variety with green chili and garlic, you could use Italian version)
2 c. celery (sliced or diced, however you like it. I prefer chunkier)
2 c. carrots (same as above)
8 c. chicken broth (I just used one 48 oz. low sodium organic, plenty brothy for me)
3 c. diced potatoes (about 3 medium ones work - yellow or yams)
1/2 c. FRESH basil (this is the key to yumminess in this soup!)
3 c. halved and sliced zucchini
15 oz. can of organic red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Garnish: freshly grated Parmesan cheese
*For the vegans, substitute vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
**For the carnivores who feel a veggie soup isn't considered a 'real' meal, add some grain-fed, free roaming meatballs - turkey or beef. This can be added towards the simmering part...
Saute the first 5 ingredients until tender over medium heat
Add cabbage, tomatoes, celery, and carrots; saute for about 8-10 minutes more
Add remaining ingredients sans Parmesan; bring to light boil; reduce to simmer for about an hour.
Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan; add a warm slice of fresh multiple grain/high fiber organic bread and you are good to go!
This batch makes about 8-12 bowls, depending upon the size of your bowl. Each one is packed with nutrients and anti-inflammatory foods - good for the heart, intestines, and soul....