The advent of the winter season is also the start of the colds malady. It is the time of the year when it is okay to look frumpy with layers of clothing, leg warmers, boots and warmly knitted bonnets. We need to warm our insides too! What better way than having a hot bowl of tomato-based vegetable soup?
As I was consulting with Uncle Google for some soup ideas to try over the weekend, I came across one delicious-looking broth dish made by Joyce Hendley, a recipe contributor of eatingwell.com. I’ve always loved tomato-based soups, so I will try making it with a little twist. I sincerely hope she wouldn’t mind.
How to Make Veggistrone with a Twist
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (no compromise with this)
2 medium-size onions, minced
4 medium-length celery stalks, chopped
1 medium-size green bell pepper (you can use half green and half red bell pepper for colour)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups finely chopped cabbage
3 cups minced cauliflower
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups string beans or short beans
1.5-liter vegetable broth (I prefer chicken stock, unsalted)
70g tomato paste (I prefer using tomato paste than tomato sauce because the paste has more tangy taste)
1 ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup boiled kidney beans
1 medium-sized bay leaf, halved
2 cups spinach, minced (you can increase the spinach if you like)
½ cup fresh basil strips
½ cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
How to Make the Soup
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole pot over medium heat.
2. Sauté onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic until soft.
3. Add the cut cherry tomatoes and half of the 70g tomato paste, stirring for three minutes.
4. Add cabbage, cauliflower, carrots and green beans. Do not over-cook the vegetables, they become soggy.
5. Pour the chicken broth, bring to a boil and add the remaining tomato paste, kidney beans and bay leaf. Add more water if you want a thinner soup.
6. Remove the bay leaf and add salt to taste.
7. Simmer the broth over low heat for 10 minutes before adding the chopped spinach.
8. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of each serving.
The soup tastes better when the tomato or the paste is cooked before adding water or broth. The antioxidant Lycopene is released when the tomato is heated. Veggistrone is very filling and warms the stomach. This scrumptious vegetable soup packs about 161 calories per cup serving. It is also very easy to prepare, and you can do other variety of dishes with this tomato-based soup.