Soup When You Need It

Need a healthier menu after the holidays? Ready to go back to normal, non-indulgent eating? Tired from all the cooking and baking and recipe-following? If you answered yes to any of the above, stress no more. I’m going to share with you a super simple soup (triple S) that will comfort you and nourish you and let you take a break from all the cookies, chocolate and cheese (triple C) you’ve been scarfing down (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’ve done a lot of holiday scarfing myself…)

I am a big fan of simple, nutritious meals (you can read about my usual, everyday meals in this blog post) and soup – especially during the colder months – is one of my staples. I like making chili (I made Turkey and Chicken Chili and Creamy White Chicken Chili) but most other times, I just throw together some of my favorite veggies, vegetable or chicken stock, a little protein and voila – soup when I need it.

I don’t even want to call this a recipe because really, it’s just soup that’s composed of basic ingredients you probably already have. Sort of like a “kitchen sink” or a “clean your fridge” kind of meal. It has a lot of veggies and a lot of flavor, and requires minimal effort. You don’t even need to follow specific instructions but I’m including the basics below, in case you need some guidance.

Spinach and Sausage Soup

– 1 medium zucchini, chopped
– 1 medium yellow squash, chopped
– 1 pack fresh white mushrooms, sliced
– 1 pack fresh baby spinach
– 1 can crushed tomatoes
– 1 can cannellini beans, drained
– 1 quart vegetable broth
– 2 links organic spicy turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed casserole over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic, chopped veggies and mushrooms and cook for approximately 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile in a separate pan, heat the remaining olive oil and brown the sausage crumbles.  Then add the cooked sausage to your big casserole. Add the vegetable stock, crushed tomatoes, and cannellini beans and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables and beans are fork tender, around 25 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. That’s it!

As I recommend when making soup, you can always play around with the ingredients and substitute whatever you have on hand. You can also use tofu instead of Italian sausage to make this vegetarian and healthier (I know sausage isn’t the healthiest option but  you really only get a little per serving and it’s great for flavor). Other “customizations” include adding mini cheese ravioli or tortellini (I like the whole wheat, frozen ones), using baby bella mushrooms instead of white mushrooms, and using other veggies like squash, potatoes, green beans, leeks, and carrots. You can also garnish with parsley and lemon juice if you want to feel extra fancy.

Do you also wing it when it comes to soup? What have you been eating and craving for, now that the holidays are over?


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