Soups, stews, and salads are probably my favorite things to make and eat. They are incredibly versatile and fairly easy to whip up with whatever veggies, beans, lentils and herbs you have hanging around in your pantry and fridge.
That was basically the inspiration for my Summer Vegetable and White Bean Soup recipe below. I had leftover carrots and celery along with some heirloom tomatoes and an open bottle of white wine in the fridge. I grabbed some white beans from the pantry along with a few other staples and voila! a summer soup was born.
This recipe is basically a template for you. Change up the veggies (maybe add or replace with some summer squash or zucchini), use garbanzo beans instead of white, swap the oregano with some tarragon – whatever suits your taste and/or whatever you happen to have on hand.
Feel free to make a big batch (this recipe is enough for 8) and then portion out the leftovers into containers and freeze for up to a month. Just defrost, heat up and dinner is ready. Always good to have some soup in the freezer in case of dinner emergencies!
p.s. Please note that if you don’t have fresh herbs – you can use dried. The basic rule is that since dried herbs are much stronger, you should use 1/3 the amount of fresh. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, use 1 teaspoon of dried as 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon.
- 2T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- a couple pinches of red pepper flakes (optional)
- ¾ cup celery, diced (approx. 2-3 stalks)
- ½ cup carrot, peeled and diced (approximately 1 large carrot)
- 4 cups tomatoes, diced (approx. 4 or 5 large – I like to use a mix of yellow & red. heirloom are great too)
- ½ cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio but feel free to use whatever you have on hand)
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- A few twists of freshly ground pepper
- (2) 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- chopped basil and/or parsley for garnish
- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté for about 5-7 minutes – until they are translucent. Add in the garlic, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes (if using) and sauté for another minute or two when the onions just begin to brown.
- Next, add the celery, carrot, and tomatoes and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze and cook for about 5 more minutes until the wine has reduced slightly.
- Next, add the vegetable broth, cannellini beans, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Mix until coated then bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes to let flavors meld.
- When the 30 minutes is up, ladle half of the soup into a high-speed blender (or a regular one will do) making sure to remove the bay leaf first. Start on a low speed and slowly work up to high so the hot soup doesn’t splatter. Blend the soup until smooth. Return the pureed soup back to the pot mix together and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Top with chopped fresh herbs such as basil and/or parsley. You can also add a tablespoon or two to the soup when you’re pureeing for additional flavor.