Vegetarian Monday – Provencal Vegetable Soup recipe

Provencal Vegetable Soup / Image rights - Food Network

This is one of my favorite soups that I’ve discovered on my vegetarian journey. It’s easy to make, delicious and light. What makes it all the more wonderful is that my kids love it!

A few changes that I made that we’ve enjoyed:

  • The recipe calls for chicken stock or broth. You can easily substitute it for vegetable broth.  It calls for 12 cups of stock, I’ve done as little as 10. It starts to get watered down beyond the 10. You’ll want to add more liquid in your broth when serving leftovers since the pasta in the soup absorbs a lot of the liquid.
  • If you’re going to use chicken stock, use the low sodium version. Healthier for you, and too salty in my opinion when you use the regular chicken stock, even without the salt added.
  • The Pisou, though delicious, is very garlic-y. I’m not a big garlic fan, at least not in this amount, and we’ve all loved the soup without it.
  • Saffron is not cheap so I’ve always left it out. We still enjoy the taste without the Saffron (I’d be curious to some day see what the difference would be in taste with and without it. A little science experiment for us.).
  • I add all sorts of veggies. I’ve added cauliflower, regular green beans (instead of the haricot verts), and frozen corn. Just go to town. The healthier and fresher the veggies, the better in my opinion.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think of it!

Soup Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch-diced unpeeled boiling potatoes (1 pound)
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch-diced carrots (1 pound)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 quarts homemade chicken stock or canned broth
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/2 pound haricots verts, ends removed and cut in 1/2
  • 4 ounces spaghetti, broken in pieces
  • 1 cup Pistou, recipe follows
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot, add the onions, and saute over low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the leeks, potatoes, carrots, salt, and pepper and saute over medium heat for another 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and saffron, bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Add the haricots verts and spaghetti, bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 more minutes.

To serve, whisk 1/4 cup of the pistou into the hot soup, then season to taste. Depending on the saltiness of your chicken stock, you may need to add up to another tablespoon of salt. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and more pistou.

Soup Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Pistou Ingredients

  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 24 large basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil

Place the garlic, tomato paste, basil, and Parmesan in the bowl of a food processor and puree. With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil down the feed tube to make a paste. Pack into a container, pour a film of olive oil on top, and close the lid.

Pistou Yield: 1 cup

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