The Soup that saved my Life

Earth-shattering news from my kitchen: I have finally found a meal that all members of my family LOVE.  Not just like, or tolerate, but RAVE about.  And get this, it’s a really easy-to-make and relatively healthy soup.

Let me explain how it goes in my household.  I do most of the cooking, and I cook for a few picky particular eaters.  They are not trying to be difficult, they just know what they like. One likes rice but not potatoes.  The other likes potatoes but not rice.  (We eat a lot of pasta!)  It is very rare to serve a dinner that everyone agrees on.  So I really couldn’t believe it when I served a fairly simple Minestrone-like soup that I created with ingredients I happened to have on hand.  I received more accolades than Sally Field on Oscar night. They liked it! They really liked it!

Here’s the recipe.  Try it for a post-holiday-getting-back-into-healthy-eating meal.

Life Saving Soup

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 precooked sweet Italian chicken sausages (such as Al Fresco), halved horizontally then sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced, chopped or crushed
  • 1 32-ounce box low-sodium chicken broth (I use Swanson’s Natural goodness)
  • 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes (don’t drain)
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of dried oregano and basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • cooked pasta, about 1-2 cups (great use for leftovers; I used rotini)
  • chopped fresh parsley, optional
  • 1/2 a chopped zucchini, optional
  • parmesan cheese for serving

Directions

Heat oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat.  When oil is hot add onion, carrots and celery.  Saute a few minutes, then add sausage.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are soft and sausage is lightly browned.  Then add garlic and cook about a minute longer. Add the broth, tomatoes with their liquid, tomato sauce, herbs and spices, and the salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to low.  At this point, add the beans.  Continue to simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  Then add the pasta, and parsley and zucchini if using, and simmer for about 5 more minutes until the zucchini is tender and everything is heated through.

Serve and top with grated parmesan if desired, along with a sprinkle of chopped parsley if you have it.  Enjoy!

Notes

  • Great served with crusty Italian bread on the side, and/or a green salad.
  • The soup is adaptable to changes.  For example leave out the pasta or replace it with cooked rice for a gluten-free meal.  Try different veggies, like chopped fresh spinach instead of zucchini.
  • I made this but didn’t realize I didn’t have chopped tomatoes, so I replaced the chopped and sauce with a 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes, and it came out just fine.
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