The Best Vegetable Soup Ever
No seriously, this is the best vegetable soup ever. Also, I'm 21 now. Woohoo. Yay. K, let's move on.
Of course, the best vegetable soup ever comes with a history. This recipe originally comes from my grandmother in Italy (too perfect, right??), who passed it down to my mother, her daughter-in-law. And today, for the first time, I made this soup on my own. Just for you guys. And for me. Don't forget about me. It's rude to forget the birthday girl.
But seriously, I'm sharing a family treasure here. I trust you'll treat this recipe with the respect it deserves i.e. make it and eat copious amounts of it.
I grew up with this vegetable soup. However, this soup was never made on any ordinary day. Nope. My mother was wise. She always reserved this soup just for special occasions. Like my birthday. And, well, now that we're mentioning it, I just thought I would remind you that it was my birthday. Yesterday. September the seventh. Write it down.
Now, where were we? Ah yes, special occasions. So, since my mom reserved this soup for special days (like my birthday, hint hint), I very much looked forward to the times I knew my mom would make this soup. And then, when she did make it, I'd always have seconds. And thirds. And have the leftovers the next day too. And freeze the rest in the extremely rare situation where there was still some leftover after everyone had their 2nd servings and I had my fifth.
But don't be mistaken in thinking that because this was assigned as a special occasion soup growing up, it's difficult or complicated or time-consuming to make. It's not. This vegetable soup contains basic, simple ingredients. And was surprisingly easy to make. Surprising, because growing up, I always thought that making this vegetable soup was a complex and time-consuming process. Because again, I just figured that since my mom made it so infrequently, it must have been a real pain to make. But it's really not. It's back to basics here - a boatload of hearty vegetables and beans, optional noodles, salt and pepper, tomato sauce and water, and you've just made the best vegetable soup you'll ever eat. No vegetable or chicken stock, no strange spices, and no confusing cooking techniques. There's just natural, delicious, goodness in this soup.
This soup + a hunk of warm, homemade bread = perfection. Or lunch.
I always think of focaccia bread as the perfect accompaniment for this soup. But that's because whenever my mom makes this soup, she usually makes her amazing focaccia bread to go with it. A real Italian feast, I tell you. Tomato-based vegetable soup and focaccia bread. Mmmmm.... I mean, my father is Italian. But the focaccia bread recipe comes from my mom. Irony at its finest, eh?
So, this is really weird, but I do not like raw tomatoes. No, that's not the weird part. The weird part is that despite the fact that I can't stand raw tomatoes, I love anything with cooked tomatoes. No, you don't get it. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE anything with cooked tomatoes. Some examples: roasted tomatoes, grilled tomatoes, tomato sauce, and any type of canned tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, and tomato soup.
Which is probably one of the reasons I love this soup so much. Cuz like I said, it's a tomato-based vegetable soup. You get all the goodness of a vegetable soup, but instead of just cooking those veggies in water like most vegetable soups require, here the vegetables are cooked in tomato sauce in addition to the water. And the rich flavor from the tomato sauce definitely contributes to the greatness of this vegetable soup. Most definitely. Very much so. Incredibly so.
Let's just bring this full circle here. This is the best vegetable soup ever. And it's too special to only have one bowl of it. So, bear in mind that if - err when - you make this vegetable soup, prepare to have multiple servings.
Okay, I think I've made myself clear. I trust you will do the right thing. Good day!
the best vegetable soup ever
Yield: 4 QT pot
4 teaspoons oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced
1 yellow zucchini, sliced
1 green zucchini, sliced
2 potatoes, cubed
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 large handfuls green beans, edges trimmed
1/4 cup baby lima beans
1/4 cup red kidney beans
1 parsnip, peeled
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
Optional: 1/4 cup noodles/pasta of choice
Place the oil and all the vegetables and beans, excluding the parsnip, in a 4 QT pot. Saute for 15 minutes on a medium flame, stirring occasionally.
Add in whole parsnip, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and water to just cover all the vegetables. (The more water you put, the less flavorful the soup will be. However, if you notice the soup is getting too thick while cooking, add a bit more boiled water.)
Bring soup to a boil. Once boiling, cover pot and cook soup on very low flame for 2-3 hours.
Remove parsnip before serving. If using noodles, add them in the last 10 minutes of cooking so they cook for just the right amount of time.
On a completely unrelated note, it's so convenient, really: