We’ve been trying out more soup recipes this winter due to the extended cold weather and I thought I’d post a few that we found to be fairly easy and quite delicious. The first is a winter spin on an old, italian classic – minestrone. Cooking Light magazine adds swiss chard, fennel and butternut squash, giving this traditional soup a hearty flair. For the second soup, I’d been looking for good lentil dishes and when my coworker gave me some amazing home-grown lemons, I thought this Food & Wine Magazine recipe would be a perfect way to incorporate the two.
Take your meal to the next level with a serving of hot, crusty bread – our favorite is the Roasted Garlic from La Brea Bakery (they sell a dual-pack at Costco, if you can’t find it at your local grocer). So stay in, turn on the stove, and warm up with these satisfying bowls of goodness!
Winter Minestrone (serves 4-6)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/4 cups cubed peeled acorn or butternut squash (about 1 medium)
- 3/4 cup diced zucchini
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup diced fennel
- 1 cup water
- 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 5 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
- 1/4 cup uncooked ditalini (any small pasta would work well, I used orzo)
- 2 1/2 cups chopped Swiss chard
- 1/2 cup rinsed and drained canned Great Northern Beans (I used white beans)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons grated Asiago cheese (optional)
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, basil, oregano, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender.
- Add squash and next 3 ingredients (through fennel); sauté 5 minutes.
- Stir in 1 cup water, broth, and tomato paste; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
- Stir in pasta; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add chard; cook 3 minutes.
- Add beans; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in pepper. Serve with cheese.
Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup (serves 4-6)
- 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- drizzle of olive oil for pan, plus more for serving (optional)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
- 1 bunch green Swiss chard (1 1/4 pounds), ribs removed and reserved for another use, leaves coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper
- In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils with the water, stock and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat until the lentils are barely tender, about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, crushed pepper and a pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cilantro and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the chard leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes.
- Add the chard to the lentils, cover partially, and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, season with pepper and olive oil and serve.