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?

   

19 Responses to “Soup When You Need It”

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    Jenn @ Frost Bites posted January 3, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I love soups….especially this time of year! I’m making beef stew tonight! Your recipe looks yummy…I’m gonna have to try it one of these days.
    Happy New Year to you!

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      Bianca Garcia posted January 3, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      Thanks Jenn! Happy new year to you too :)

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    Lauren at KeepItSweet posted January 3, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I love recipes like this. This weekend I made a huge pot of vegetarian split pea soup to have for dinner this week. It is so hard to go back to healthy eating, though!

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    Megan posted January 3, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Yum! I also love how versatile soup is. Your recipe sounds like a great starting point.

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    Hannah posted January 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Hmm. See, I know that I *should* agree with your first paragraph, and yet I just ate a peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwich for lunch… :D

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    Michelle posted January 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I love this! I make similar “kitchen sink” soups all the time using whatever I have on hand in my fridge, pantry and freezer!

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    Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls posted January 4, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Yummmm! This sounds sooo tasty! I love soup!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary

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    MelissaNibbles posted January 4, 2011 at 9:49 am

    This sounds yummy and comforting. I’d use chicken sausage!

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    Emily posted January 4, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Love soup this time of year (in fact, I have minestrone in my slow cooker as we speak!). Anything with sausage and zucchini is good in my book!

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    Meesh posted January 4, 2011 at 10:29 am

    After the holidays I was craving some healthy soup too (actually chorizo and kale which is very similar!) The real food alternative to a liquid diet!

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    Beth posted January 4, 2011 at 10:51 am

    That sounds delicious! I am always whipping together a “kitchen sink” style soup when its dinner for one. A little bit of miso paste, veggies and dumplings from Trader Joe’s and you have dinner in 10 minutes!

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    Meghan@travelwinedine posted January 4, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I love recipes that still feel comforting while being healthy. Soups are great for when a salad is just too cold! :)

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    Daisy posted January 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    great idea! I love how you “sold” us on the idea of soup post holidays. I’ve never made a kitchen sink soup before but I’m all about making them in general!!

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    Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday posted January 5, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I’m a big fan of soup. I make soup probably about once a week. This week I did the New Year Noodle Soup on 101 Cookbooks and it was really good.

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    blackbookkitchendiaries posted January 5, 2011 at 11:20 am

    thank you for sharing this soup with us.. it sounds so lovely right now.. have a great day!

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    Susan posted January 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I was just thinking about the soup I should make today and there was your post! :)

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    thehealthyapron posted January 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    MMM looks great! I might nix the sausage but the recipe looks awesome!

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    Sues posted January 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    I crave soups these days… But I crave them so much more if there’s sausage involved! This looks fabulous :)

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    Justin posted January 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Sounds like a great and simple soup. Thanks for the recipe.

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