Here’s a wonderful colorful soup that is filling, nutritious, and delicious at the same time. One thing I particularly like about this recipe is that it is generously open to improvisation. Don’t have kale? Use spinach or whatever leafy green you fancy. Don’t have canned chickpeas? Use peas or beans you have on hand. Want to deepen the flavors? Use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth, or combine the two for a varied taste. Enjoy!
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium red onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
2 carrots, washed and finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 zucchini, finely chopped
1 small leek, washed and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
1 bay leaf
Two 14-ounce (400 g) cans chopped plum tomatoes
1 medium potato, scrubbed and diced
1 cup cauliflower florets
One 14-ounce (400 g) can northern beans, drained
4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth, preferably organic
Large handful curly kale, stalks removed, chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup broken spaghetti
Small bunch of fresh basil (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
5 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the chopped garlic, onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, leek, if using, oregano, and bay leaf. Cook slowly for about 15 minutes, stirring now and then, until the vegetables have softened.
Add the cans of tomatoes, the chopped potato, cauliflower, drained beans, and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and cooked through (check by sticking one with a small knife).
Add 2 cups of water to the pan and return to boil. Once boiling, add kale and pasta and cook for 10 minutes more, or until the pasta is tender. If soup is too thick, thin it out with a little more broth or water.
If using the basil, tear the larger leaves into the soup and reserve the baby leaves for garnish. Season with a little pinch of salt and black pepper. Taste to check the flavors. Remove bay leaf and discard. Divide soup between serving bowls and sprinkle with the reserved basil leaves. Serve the Parmesan in a small bowl alongside to sprinkle over servings.