With the (so far) snowy winter in eastern PA along with today’s “arctic vortex” giving us temperatures of, according to the Weather Channel, “0 degrees, feels like -22”, I thought it is a perfect time to post an easy soup recipe. I personally always feel cold from October through April, and am not sure that I would make it to spring without sipping hot tea and eating soup daily. Sometimes the winter months put people into hibernation mode, laying on the couch and reaching for “comfort foods”. Comfort foods don’t have to be super high in fat and calories though. Soup to me is a comfort food, and this one, containing beans and bulgur (my new favorite grain) in addition to a variety of veggies, can satisfy your hunger and warm you up in a healthy way. Then you’ll feel energized enough to get off the couch and warm up with exercise!!
Hearty Vegetable & Bulgur Soup (V, DF)
1 Tablespoon olive or avocado oil*
3 cloves garlic minced
1 medium- large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2-3 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
3-4 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2-2 C: kidney beans prepped from dry or a 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained & rinsed (choose BPA-free brand)**
4-5 large beefsteak tomatoes, chopped or 1-2 cans of organic diced tomatoes
1 Cup cooked, chopped organic spinach or kale (from fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 Cups organic frozen peas
1 Cup dry bulgur (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
1/4 Cup fresh basil, finely chopped (or dried basil to taste)
1/2 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon parsley
2-3 Cups low sodium vegetable broth (Trader Joe’s has surpassed the flavor of all other brands for me here)
1-2 Cups water
Crushed red and cracked black pepper
*While I purchase organic for all items, if not purchasing organic for starred items, at least choose Non-GMO Project Verified brands to ensure your food is free of genetic engineering.
**Purchasing tip: If I do purchase canned, I buy beans at Trader Joe’s because they do not contain BPA. A risk of using canned foods is that the cans are lined with the carcinogenic chemical BPA. If you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, click here for brands that are BPA free.
-Wash the carrots and celery (and greens if fresh) and prep all of your ingredients as listed above.
-Place a large saucepan or stockpot over low-medium heat and add the canola oil. Spread w/ rubber spatula so that it coats the bottom of the pan.
-Add the garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes (do not let garlic turn brown).
-Add the chopped onion, carrot & celery. Stir well and cover for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-If using fresh tomatoes, add them now, stir and cover about 5 minutes.
-If using canned tomatoes, add both tomatoes and beans now and stir the mixture.
-Now, add bulgur, and seasonings. Stir well.
-Immediately add 3 Cups of liquid. I recommend starting with 2 cups broth and 1 Cup water. Increase heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
-Now add your spinach or kale, and peas. If you like brothy soups, add another cup of broth and another cup of water. I personally like soup more thick so I usually leave the extra liquid out. Let simmer another 5 minutes or so and then you’re done!
Serve up your soup right away to have the most warming effect 🙂 . Tim adds some grated Parmesan to his, but I add nutritional yeast to mine for some added flavor since I don’t consume dairy. Cashew “parm” works too. This is a large batch so you can freeze some for next week if you don’t care to have the same soup as leftovers for a couple of days after cooking. I recommend portioning some out into pyrex containers so you can easily grab a serving to take to work for a healthy lunch.