Italian Soup

Tuscan Vegetable Soup

Healthy week continues! It is rare that I have a meal that does not involve meat unless it is a grilled cheese or a cucumber sandwich so I am proud of myself for branching out. I knew that I wanted to make some sort of soup this week, and this one had such great reviews and gorgeous colours in the photo that I had to make it. It’s funny because celery is one of my most hated foods, and I don’t really care for kidney beans or zucchini. Apparently when you throw all of those things together they magically become a delicious soup!

I was blown away by how quick this soup was to make. Usually soups have to cook for a really long time either in a giant pot or a slow cooker, but this took about 30 minutes. OK, that’s a lie but only because my knife skills are atrocious. Seriously, you will probably never meet someone who is as awful at chopping vegetables as me. One of my favourite shows on TV right now is Worst Cooks in America because it just brings me to tears of laughter every week. I watch these people get criticized for their uneven knife cuts, and I am ashamed because I know that I am much worse. I have been meaning to take one of those knife skills classes that they offer at Central Market for ages, but they always fall on like a Tuesday in the middle of the day when I have class. I am hoping to finally get around to it this summer though so get ready to be wowed by my improved knife skills.

This recipe comes from Ellie Krieger at foodnetwork.com, and I did not make any substitutions in it. I used the optional amounts for dried thyme and sage rather than buying fresh herbs because I wanted to do my grocery shopping a lot earlier in the week and didn’t want everything to go bad. I had a little bit of trouble finding canellini beans and had to buy some expensive organic brand (I hate organic food!), but it’s probably just because my HEB is the worst. Everything else was a cinch!
Tuscan Vegetable Soup
1 (15-oz) can low-sodium canellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp 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 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
2 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
32 oz low-sodium chicken brother or vegetable broth
1 (14.5-oz) 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 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of pepper and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. I chopped up all of my veggies ahead of time and just stored them in a ziploc until I was ready to start cooking.

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. I love that it always says ‘if desired” after the serve with cheese part because really, who wouldn’t desire cheese?

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