The Best Vegetable Soup

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It's finally a little chilly here in Connecticut! I've been dying to break out my puffy vest from the back of the closet. 

Cooler temps also mean soup weather (!), and this vegetable soup is the perfect kick-off. 

The Best Vegetable Soup

Serves 4, generously

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
5-6 thyme sprigs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, diced small
1 can diced tomatoes (organic, no salt)
4 cups vegetable broth (organic, low sodium)
1 cup filtered water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
6-7 grinds black pepper
dash red pepper flakes (optional)
3 packed cups chopped greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach)

Add olive oil to a large Dutch oven or stock pot and bring to medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 8-10 minutes until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are starting to brown. Add thyme sprigs and garlic - sauté for one minute or so, until fragrant. Then, mix tomato paste in with the vegetables and cook for another minute.

Next, add butternut squash, tomatoes, vegetable broth, water, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (is using). Bring soup to boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook, uncovered, until squash is tender (about 30 minutes). Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf, taste, and adjust seasoning. 

At this point you can hold the soup until ready to serve. 10 minutes before serving, return to heat and add chopped greens - cook until the leaves are just wilted. 

Transfer soup to large bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil and more black pepper. 

This soup will keep for several days in the refrigerator. If freezing, I would omit the greens and add them when you reheat the soup.  

Notes:

If you can't find diced tomatoes with no salt added or low sodium vegetable stock, reduce salt in recipe to a 1/2 teaspoon to start. Then taste and adjust accordingly after the soup has simmered. 

To make this soup a meal, I like to add diced avocado and a 7-minute soft-boiled egg. A slice of dense sprouted-grain bread is a must as well.