*If you are looking for the first post of the Better Balance in 2013 series, it will be coming later in the week–I think. Funny thing happens when you decide to write on balance for the whole year…you suddenly become completely unbalanced and wonder what the heck you were thinking and who in the world wants to read about your
dysfunction balancing tactics. So, please be patient while I try to unpack from a trip, catch up on laundry and help my kids with 3 days of missed homework. While you wait and ponder about balance and laundry and homework, you can make soup!
This soup is one of my favorites. I make it several times throughout the Fall and Winter. It has a smooth, creamy texture and is packed with so many interesting veggies. I originally found it in a vegetarian cookbook called Choices: Quick and Healthy Cooking, by Cheryl Thomas Peters, R.D. I bought the cookbook about 15 years ago, from a teenager selling it door-to-door, who was supposedly using the fundraising money to apply to her college tuition. I hope she actually went to college and graduated with honors. I have a hard time turning away a kid selling me ANYTHING at my door. I mean, if they have the guts and drive to get out there and sell, the least I can do is buy something.
Even if she didn’t raise enough money to attend college, I still got a great cookbook out of the deal.
Now, one thing I hate about many vegetarian recipes is that they often ask you to put things in the food to make it taste like meat. I think more recent recipes are getting away from this, because people don’t want the artificial flavors in their food. But this cookbook is chock full of meat-flavored ingredients.
This recipe even called for margarine!
Do they even still MAKE margarine???
Anyhoo, I’ve completely adapted it to fit the tastes of our family and to rid it of nasty ingredients. Which, for us, includes adding actual organic chicken broth or homemade chicken stock. Of course, if you want to keep it vegetarian, simply use vegetable broth or water instead.
- Total prep time: About 15 min
- Total cooking time: About an hour
- Serving size: 2 cups
- Makes about 10 servings
- Calories: 212 per serving (this is approximate–it’s the calorie count as it was originally written, with the nasty ingredients.)
Ingredients: (All measurements are approximate. It’s hard to mess this soup up.)
10 cups organic chicken broth (or water or vegetable broth, or a combo of broth and water. I like to use homemade chicken stock)
2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups fresh or frozen lima beans
2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
2 cups fresh or frozen green beans
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup peanut butter (I KNOW!!! Crazy–but it adds a creamy texture. Just try it)
4 TBS butter (or margarine, if you are looking for ways to increase your trans fat intake)
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (it’s going in a blender)
1 TBS dried or fresh basil
1 TBS dried or fresh oregano
1 TBS dried or fresh thyme
1 TBS dried or fresh parsley
1 TBS brown sugar
1 or 2 packets onion soup mix (I look for all natural varieties from Whole Foods. I have also used all natural chicken bullion or vegetable bullion)
1 TBS chicken/poultry seasoning (like McCormicks)
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1 cup zucchini, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms (I have never put mushrooms in this because I don’t like them…but if you like them, go for it)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large Dutch oven, simmer first 9 ingredients (everything through “corn”) until potatoes are soft and can be pierced easily with a fork. (If you are using frozen veggies, it may take a while to bring this up to a boil)
2. In a blender, combine tomatoes, peanut butter, butter, garlic, herbs, sugar, soup mix (or bullion), and seasoning. Pulse until smooth, just a few seconds.
3. Add blender mixture to simmering vegetables.
4. Add cabbage, zucchini and mushrooms and cook about 15-20 more minutes.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I like to serve this soup with grilled cheese. The combo of the tomato base and the cheese is delectable. You can also spoon 10-or so spoonfuls of dumpling dough on the top of the soup, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. I did this once and the kiddos loved it.