A lot of times, if I'm making vegetable soup, I'll throw in a can of Great Northern Beans to add some protein to the mix. Vegetable soup is really kind of a no-brainer, so this is more of an idea inspiration than for actual recipe value. I'll usually start with the basics - garlic, onion, celery, and carrot. After that, it's all about what mood I'm in or what's lurking at the back of the crisper drawer. Soup is a great way of using up all those odds and ends in your fridge and freezer. If you've got veggies and herbs hanging around that seem to be more questionable than what you want to include in your soup, go ahead and freeze them rather than throwing them out - that way, you can use them down the road to season a batch of stock.
For some reason, I usually use beef broth when making vegetable soup, but I went with chicken broth this time - maybe because I was including spinach and associate spinach with chicken. More often than not, I'll include at least one color of bell pepper in my soup, usually red or orange. I decided to skip the peppers this time, but did add something else that I love in soup for another texture - water chestnuts! They add a great crunch.
1 T olive oil
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t each salt and pepper
1/2 to 1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 box frozen chopped spinach
1 c frozen corn
32 oz carton chicken broth
1 small can sliced water chestnuts
1 can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
Grated Parmesan - optional
- Saute the celery, carrots, and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent.
- Season with the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, then add the spinach and corn - frozen is fine, they will thaw in just a few minutes, and the spinach will give off more liquid and flavor for your broth that way.
- Once the spinach is thawed, go ahead and add the broth and bring up to a simmer.
- Add the water chestnuts and beans last and let simmer for a few minutes more to heat through.
- Serve up a cup/bowl with a sprinkle Parmesan over the top.