So July is kind of birthday central around our house. I turned 32 on Monday and Lance turns 35- 9 days later on the 30th– and it’s never fun to confine your birthday celebrations to just one day… therefore we basically celebrate for the last half of July! Which makes August National-get-your-nutritional-groove-back month in our house. But at some point yesterday I realized the amount of… “treat” food I had enjoyed over the last few days and felt the need to cram my system full of vegetables and nutrients for dinner. So, this lovely Summer Vegetable Soup was born. Never mind the fact that it’s about 100 degrees outside– it was still great for a rainy summer evening.
Some notes: 1. Though this a healthy recipe, it does begin with 2 strips of bacon. The bacon lends a nice flavor and when your husband says, “Is there meat in this?” You can say, “Yes! Bacon!” And that just makes most husbands happy. If you desire to make this vegetarian, just substitute a TBS. of Olive Oil to sauté your veggies in. 2. Also in the slightly decadent category, I finish this soup with 1 tbs. Heavy Cream. Feel free to leave that out. I would not sub anything else but you could add a bit of greek yogurt– just allow your soup to cool slightly so it doesn’t curdle. Anddd….3. I do not like big chunks of vegetables that can get mushy in soup– so things that tend to do that– (carrots, zucchini, etc.) I shred in the food processor (or on a cheese grater) and it makes the soup have the perfect texture– and it’s just beautiful that way! See?
Okay for the recipe– You can use just about any vegetables you fancy but here is what I did:
Summer Garden Vegetable Soup
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 an onion, diced
- 2 strips of bacon, diced
- 32 oz. Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 1 large zucchini, shredded and drained
- 1 small yellow squash, shredded and drained
- 3-4 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
- 3-4 medium mushrooms, diced
- 2 ears of corn, removed from cob or 1 cup of frozen kernels (Please don’t leave this out unless you really don’t like corn– it makes the soup!)
- 1 can of Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed. (set aside 3 Tbs. of these beans in a small bowl.)
- 1 Regular Jar of Marinara Sauce (Homemade works perfect too!)
- 1 tbs. fresh sage, diced (or 1/2 tsp. dried sage.)
- 1 tbs. fresh thyme, diced (or 1 tsp. dried thyme.)
- a pinch of salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- freshly grated parmesan
In a large dutch oven or soup pot, sautée the bacon. When it is not quite done, add the diced onion and garlic and allow it to begin to brown. When the onion becomes tender and is translucent, add the chicken broth and then the carrots, zucchini, squash and mushrooms. Add Herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. While soup is coming to a boil, take the 3 tbs. of white beans you set aside in a small bowl. Smash them with the back of a spoon and then add the smashed mixture to the soup. (this helps thicken the soup.) Now add the whole cannellini beans and stir in. Add Marinara Sauce and stir. Add the corn now. (At this point, you need to look at your soup– to see if it is too thick. If it is, fill the empty marinara jar half-way full with water and then add to the pot. Depending on how juicy your vegetables were, you may or may not need to do this. )
After soup comes to a boil, Lower the heat and Simmer for 10-12 minutes on low until soup is heated throughout.
Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if needed. If your soup tastes like it needs more flavor, you can add a tbs. or two of basil pesto– delicious!
Remove Soup from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add Heavy cream if using. Stir.
Serve bowls of soup with Grated Parmesan– and this Cheddar Zucchini Cornbread is a great accompaniment (and a great way to use up some more shredded zucchini and get more in your kiddos!)
Both the soup and the cornbread make enough for either a crowd, or plenty of leftovers!!!