I have managed to make this twice now….and I still don’t have many pictures. Not of the finished dish. Not of the cauliflower. I will fix that eventually…but I decided to go ahead and post anyway.
I found this soup shortly after the holidays this year. I was looking to lighten up our meals a bit and reign in after the indulgence and delicious carb fest of the holidays. Salads are always a good option, but in late winter a salad never satisfies my stomach the way it does my “oh-yeah-this-will-be-a-great-healthy-dinner” brain that creates the menus.
This soup full of vegetables, in a happy tomato broth, that is pureed to a thick, spoonable mouthful of deliciousness…well, you know if that is how you like your soup…because you can leave it brothy with big chunks too, but I fully vote for pureeing. I could also have an excessive love of using the hand blender.
Either way, pureed or original state, it is a great soup that does indeed check both the full belly and healthy meal boxes. It reminds me of minestrone a bit, but there are no noodles or potato, so it is gluten free, if you are into that kinda of thing. It is also open to lots of variation. Add vegetables you have on hand, but I do think the cauliflower is key.
Serve with salad (light n’fresh option) or fresh garlic bread (in between option) or maybe a gooey grilled cheese (less light n’fresh more mmmm..melty cheese is the best thing ever option).
Italian Vegetable Soup
Prep time: 20 min.
Cook time: 40 min.
Makes ~8 2-cup servings
3 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, diced
18g (3 large cloves) garlic, minced
160g (3 small-ish) carrots, diced
180g (large zucchini) quartered (¼ inch thick)
~1kg (1 lg head) cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized florets
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 cups tomato juice
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs red wine vinegar
~ 3 cups water (enough to cover vegetables)
1 can (15oz/400g) white beans, drained and rinsed
250g (~2 cups) frozen chopped spinach
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp Italian Seasoning
¼-½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp fresh rosemary
¼ tsp cayenne pepper, optional
Water to thin soup to desired consistency, if needed
Optional to serve – Parmesan and lemon
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven (6-8 quart/liter). Add diced onions and cook until translucent (4-5 min). While the onions are cooking chop carrots, cauliflower (bite-sized florets), and garlic cloves and add to onions as you finish chopping each one. Stir frequently to avoid burning garlic and vegetables. Cook for 2-4 minutes then add zucchini quarters to sauteing vegetables. Cook another 2 minutes.
Add can of diced tomatoes, 3 cups tomato juice, both vinegars, and all seasonings. Add enough water to just cover vegetables and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer about 20 min or until the cauliflower is just soft and other vegetables are tender.
Once tender, using hand blender puree about 2-3 cups of the soup with half of the beans in the blender cup (or regular blender. Either way use caution blending hot liquids, and don’t forget to vent the plastic knob on top if you are using a regular blender. Please no blender blowups). Mix pureed soup back into pot (I ended up doing two rounds of blending.) You could also do this directly in the pot, make sure the hand blender is totally covered. Add in frozen spinach and remaining beans. Stir until the spinach is warmed. Test for salt, pepper, and spiciness.
Serve with shredded parmesan and a squeeze of lemon juice or dash of balsamic