Monday, March 2, 2015

Recipe Monday - Tomato, Spinach, Basil Soup

Ingredients:
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery (I use close to 1 cup because I like celery)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbsp fresh or to taste)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh or to taste)
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes **
**Alternative Version: I make my own crushed tomatoes in the summer from 5 very large ripe tomatoes. Remove peel, squeeze out excess juice and seeds, chop, and then gently cook on the stove until soft for 10 to 15 minutes. If there are still larger chunks, I use a handheld immersion blender to puree until I get the desired consistency. I then add 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce to the mix and continue the recipe as follows.
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (Alternative Version: DON’T ADD THIS if you are making the alternative version above)
  • 2 cups fat-free, low-sodium vegetable broth (Alternative version: I use just a little over 1 cup because my tomatoes generally make more than 28 oz of crushed tomatoes. I add by sight adjusting for the thickness I desire for my soup.)
  • 3 – ounces fresh spinach, chopped (I use at least double the amount and after 5 minutes of cooking, use my immersion blender for just a moment or two to puree any excess chunks.
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil (If you made fresh pesto from your summer bounty of basil, you can add 1-1/2 tablespoons of it in the place of the fresh basil. It's killer good.)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (don’t skip this – you need it)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Directions:
  1. Heat oil in soup pot. 
  2. Gently sauté garlic, onion, and celery until softened – approx. 4 to 5 minutes. 
  3. Sprinkle in thyme and oregano, and stir. 
  4. Add crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth, followed by chopped spinach and basil and stir until wilted. Use immersion blender if desired. 
  5. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  6. Stir in balsamic vinegar and season with freshly-ground black pepper.
Note: To put this soup over the top, add a few splashes of half and half after adding balsamic vinegar. Allow to warm gently. Serve warm.

All you need is some crusty whole-grain bread for dunking or if you are really motivated for the YUM factor, use your whole grain bread and make it into a grilled cheese sandwich. I had leftover grilled chicken and sliced it thinly and we enjoyed the soup with a grilled chicken/cheese sandwich.

You can substitute collard or kale in the place of the spinach. I used fresh collard greens because that's what was fresh at the grocery. It was equally as good if not better.

Bon Appetit!

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