Easy Weeknight Soup is our answer to dinner in 5 minutes on a busy night. I love to cook on the weekends when we have a little extra time and then savor the benefit of a delicious bowl of soup after a long day. And no cooking involved other than re-heating. We sometimes serve with a little crusty fresh bread or on those nights when we don’t have fresh bread, I’ll take a few slices from the freezer and put them on the panini press for a couple of minutes. A little fresh grated Parmesan cheese and basil makes it seem like you’re not even eating leftovers.
All together there are 14 ingredients plus spices and vegetable broth. Seems like a lot, but at least half is stuff you probably already have in your pantry like beans, lentils and tomatoes.
What I love about this soup is that it’s healthy, but satisfying at the same time. I sometimes use MyPlate on Livestrong to track calories. Here’s another reason to love this soup. One serving is 329 calories! This soup has so many vegetables that I can even skip making a salad. We’ve served it with a scoop of Trader Joe’s brown rice which is another variation and still keeping it simple, but a little heartier with the rice.
Week Night Vegetable Soup
Adapted over the years from Giada DeLaurentis who calls this soup Spicy Bean Soup– I don’t like that name. In fact I would have never even made it the first time based on the name alone, but my husband did and we loved it. There are so many things other than beans that are fresh and colorful and healthy, so why call it Spicy Bean Soup? I mean, even chili doesn’t have bean in its title. We call it weeknight soup because we can make it and have it all week long served different ways.
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2″ pieces
6 Cloves Garlic, Chopped Small
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
12 ounces tomato juice
one Parmesan rind
8 cups vegetable broth
2 15-ounce cans Cannellinni beans, drained and rinsed
2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dried French green lentils
3 cups broccoli florets
2 zucchini cut crosswise and cut into 1/2″ rounds
2 yellow crookneck squash cut crosswise into 1/2″ rounds
Freshly grated Parmesan
Fresh Basil chiffonade
To make: Heat the olive oil in a large pot like a Le Creuset and add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and red pepper and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes or until onions become translucent. Then add the chopped garlic and sauté for an additional two minutes. Add the chili powder, coriander, cumin, oregano and crushed red pepper and stir together and cook for two minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, tomato juice and paste and the Parmesan cheese rind. Add the broth, beans, lentils and the rest of the vegetables and bring to a simmer on high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Pour into five 26-ounce containers and refrigerate or freeze.
Note: The original recipe calls for two teaspoon of salt– that seems like a lot. I leave out the salt, use low-sodium vegetable broth and no salt added diced tomatoes and we still feel like it is very flavorful.