Saturday, November 28, 2009

Almost Olive Garden Vegetable Soup

This is a family favorite, much requested and happily eaten by all. Great with fresh bread and a salad. It also lends itself to many variations.

* 2 tablespoons oil
* 1 cup finely chopped white onion (about 1 small onion)
* 1/2 cup frozen cut green beans or 1 can green beans
* 1/2 cup minced celery (about 1/2 stalk)
* 4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves) or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 6 cups water
* 1-2 cups leftover vegetables that seem right for this soup
* 1 chicken substitute bullion cube, it you have it
* 1 (15 ounce) cans small white beans or great northern beans, drained
* 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes or 1 small can tomato paste
* 1 cup carrot, finely chopped or shredded
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano or 1/4 cup fresh
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to taste
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
* 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/2 cup small shell pasta or alphabets or broken fettuccini or whatever

1 ) Heat the oil in your soup pot. Add the onion, celery and garlic. Simmer gently for several minutes.

2 ) Add the vegetables, beans, water, bullion cube, tomatoes and herbs. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes to half an hour.

3 ) Add the pasta and simmer another 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese to top. A few croutons wouldn't hurt either!

This can also be made in a crockpot. Put all but the noodles in at the beginning of the day and let it cook. Just remember to add the pasta about 20 minutes before serving.