I find my cravings so predictably in tune with the change of seasons. The weather has started getting colder, mornings and evenings are darker, and there are only a few stubborn, golden leaves left on the trees. All I want to do is warm my hands and bathe my face in steam that’s gently rising from my mug of tea or a hearty bowl of soup. So, when I went grocery shopping this past weekend, I knew that the vast majority of the vegetables I was buying were headed toward a hearty, healthy, filling soup that I could have for lunch all week long.
I thought that my pot would overflow a number of times as I cooked this soup but as things cooked down and melded together, everything teetered right below the edge. Perfect. I definitely didn’t hold back at any point. When I thought that the soup couldn’t take any more, I added the beans for some extra protein and their soft chew, the orzo for a slippery bite, and the greens that looked like they would never fit in the pot but melt away to the perfect amount.
This soup is warming, filling and bowl after bowl, I haven’t gotten sick of it for one moment. I will happily eat it every day for lunch, sometimes with a buttered, crusty piece of bread to dip, sometimes with a healthy amount of parmesan dumped on top, sometimes all alone. It’s great every time.
To make this vegan, just leave out the parmesan rind.
This makes A LOT of soup. It lasted two of us all week. It is a wonderful thing to make on a Sunday night (if you have room in your fridge) to have on hand for a filling, healthy and warming meal. Feel free to halve the recipe for a manageable amount if you don't like eating the same thing every day.
This is a very hearty soup (the soup to vegetable ratio leans heavily on a lot of vegetable to not too much broth). When you heat it up on subsequent days, the soup will release liquid as it heats. If you're cooking the orzo in the soup instead of separately (although I recommend cooking it separately) definitely add some extra liquid to account for the broth it will soak up.
In a very large pot heat up olive oil over medium heat.
Add onion, garlic, celery and carrots and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until vegetables have started to soften, stirring occasionally, about 5 more minutes.
Add whole tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stock, bay leaves, parmesan rind and mix, ensuring the tomato paste dissolve.
Add cabbage, stir and cook over low heat (so it's just simmering) covered for about 25 minutes, until the cabbage cooks down.
Add swiss chard, potatoes, and beans and cook over low heat (so it's just simmering) for an additional 20 minutes, covered, until potatoes are cooked through.
Stir in cooked orzo. Season with any additional salt and pepper.
Serve with crusty buttered bread and some extra parmesan grated on top.
Hearty Healthy Vegetable Soup Recipe was last modified: October 28, 2014 by