Versatile Vegetable Soup
This is such a healthy and easy dish to make. You can really use any kind of vegetables (even frozen though I love the fresh variety) that you wish so almost every ingredient mentioned here is optional. You also can add rice or pasta along with the chick peas; or you can use white beans instead of the chick peas. You can omit the meatballs and use ingredient combinations like pasta or rice plus beans to make a complete protein. (Look online to find the food combinations that make a complete protein.) You can use chicken or vegetable stock instead of beef stock. You can change the Italian slant of this dish a make instead a Mexican one (add enchilada sauce and tortillas) or German (add slice bratwurst) or Indian (add curry seasoning and Nan) or—well I leave it up to you. Just use your imagination and it’ll come out superb and healthy. It’s also a very economical dish and can be served for lunch or dinner; and why not serve it for a very healthy and filling breakfast? Lastly, for the busy ones, if you have a slow cooker, you can cook it in there (5-6 hours on low), leave home and come back to an almost cooked meal. You just have to add the last half hour ingredients when you are home. I love dishes like and this and it’s one that the whole family can participate in—including of course the kids.
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 3 Tblsp. olive oil
- 1/4 head cabbage, rough chopped
- 6 Brussels sprouts, sliced
- 1/2 to 3/4 head of Boston lettuce, rough chopped
- 1 C. Swiss chard, chopped
- 1 C. spinach, chopped (or a 10 oz. package of frozen spinach)
- 2 celery stalks, rough chopped
- 1/2 (or more) large head of broccoli, finely chopped
- 8-10 cups beef stock
- S&P to taste
- 1/2 to 1 Tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- 1/4 C. sherry, Madera or Marsala (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- One small basket of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 small can of chick peas, drained and rinsed in cold water
- Ground beef, chicken or turkey to make into meatballs (see ingredients needed and instructions below)
- 8 oz. shelled fresh peas or frozen ones
- 6 slices coarse country-style bread which has been rubbed with garlic and toasted in the oven. (optional)
- Shaved Parmesan
- 1 Tblsp. chopped parsley
Instructions for the soup:
- In a large pot, warm the olive oil and then sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. (about 5 minutes)
- Add the ingredients numbering 4 through 10 and cook gently, stirring from time to time, for about 15 minutes.
- Add the ingredients numbering from 11 to 15, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 ½ hours.
- Add the ingredients numbering from 16 to 18 for one more 1/2 hour.
- Serve over the optional French bread and/or topped with the shaved Parmesan and chopped parsley.
To make the meatballs you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1/2 lb. ground beef, turkey or chicken
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/2 to 3/4 C. Italian or plain bread crumbs
- 1 dash of tobacco
Instructions for forming the meatballs:
Mix everything together till not too soppy and form into one-inch diameter meatballs.