Vegetable Broth

Ideally, you’d save all the ends of carrots and discarded parts of onions and use those to make vegetable stock. But if, like me, you weren’t thinking about making vegetable broth and have been composting your scraps, you can follow this recipe!

Aside from taste, the great thing about homemade broth is that you can control how much sodium is in it. This recipe is very low sodium, but feel free to add more salt!

I froze a bunch of this broth in mason jars. (If you do this, be sure to let the broth cool to room temperature first and don’t fill the jars completely–it will need room to expand when it freezes.)

Ingredients

  • 4 carrots, roughly chopped (don’t bother peeling)
  • 4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or more, to taste)
  • 12 cups water

You could also add: bay leaves, tomatoes, greens, mushrooms, leeks, parsley, potatoes, etc. Basically, you want ~3 cups of veggies.

Directions

  1. Put all the vegetables and spices in a large pot. Toss in olive oil, then add water. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Strain using a fine mesh strainer.
  3. Allow to cool completely before storing.
Aren’t these carrots from our local farm stand, Atlas Farm, just so beautiful?

Minestrone Soup

 

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 large yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup pasta, uncooked
  • 1 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups baby spinach

Directions

1. Combine the olive oil, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and tomato paste in a large pot over medium heat. Stir frequently, until the veggies have softened (~5 minutes).

2. Pour in the diced tomatoes along with their liquid, the broth, and water.

3. Add the yellow squash and zucchini, then add the spices: oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and some black pepper.

5. Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

6. Remove the lid and add the pasta, beans, and spinach. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

7. Remove from heat and serve.

Kale and White Bean Soup

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I went to NH to visit my parents and I’m afraid to say that all this California sunshine has softened me. My parents talked about how it has been warming up; I piled on layers, wrapped myself in a blanket, and sat in front of the fireplace every evening.

My mom made this soup one night, and I can’t tell you how nice it was to eat a big mug of it sitting on the brick hearth, the fire roaring.

Like with a lot of soups, the flavors get stronger over time. I reheated it for lunch the next day and it was even better!

Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds kale leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup shallots, chopped (about 4)
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 15oz cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 tablespoon assorted dried herbs (tarragon, parsley, etc.)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add carrots, celery, shallots, and garlic. Cook around 10 minutes, until vegetables are slightly softened.
  3. Add the white wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add white beans, 4 cups of vegetable broth, thyme, and the bay leaf.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
  6. Add the kale and dried spices. Stir in the white wine vinegar and sherry. If the soup is too thick, add more broth, if desired.
  7. Simmer for five more minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

Spaghetti Squash Primavera

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Don’t get me wrong, I am not ditching pasta. That will never, ever happen. But oh my goodness, this is good. There’s a little kick to it, thanks to the red chili pepper flakes. Aside from the time it takes to bake the spaghetti squash in the oven (which can be done ahead of time!), this is fast and easy to make.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 2 cups spaghetti squash (half of a large spaghetti squash)
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • grated parmesan, to serve (leave off for a vegan meal)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F

  1. Place the squash, uncut, on a baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes. Take out of the oven, let cool for half an hour.
  2. Cut the squash in half. For this recipe, you’ll only need half (or you can double the recipe). Remove the seeds with a spoon or your fingers. Using a fork, scrape the sides of the squash, scooping out the “spaghetti.”
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  3. In a large pot, toss the garlic, onion, carrot, and celery in the oil. Cook over medium heat 3-5 minutes, until slightly softened.
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  4. Add the peas, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, and spaghetti squash. Stir until well combined.
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  5. Add the marinara sauce and spices. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with grated parmesan.
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White Bean Soup

Adapted from Vegetarian: Over 300 Healthy and Wholesome Recipes Chosen From Around the World.

Ingredients

  • Three 15oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 celery rib, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1) Puree 1/2 of the beans in a food processor, adding water (1 tablespoon at a time) if necessary, until the beans are a smooth puree.

2) In a large pot, combine the oil, onion, carrot, and celery. Stir until the veggies are coated in the oil. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, but not mushy.

4) Add the tomatoes, garlic, and thyme. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

5) Pour in the vegetable broth, followed by the beans and the bean puree. When you add the beans, the soup will turn bright white–which was a bit startling to me!–but it goes away. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6) Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes.