Happy Monday, everyone! I hope all of you enjoyed your weekend (I know I did!). 🙂
Usually, Mondays are super rough for me. I typically have the hardest time coming off of a weekend, but today really surprised me. Instead of moping around with the Monday blues, I’ve had TONS of energy. Thank you, new diet.
In addition to feeling really good about starting a brand new week, I felt particularly inspired to try something new. What better way to experiment in life than in the kitchen?
Recently, I purchased a bag of frozen butternut squash. I wanted to turn it into a nice, velvety soup to accompany whatever protein I end up having for dinner this week. However, that isn’t exactly what ended up happening…
Once I got the pot out and started gathering seasonings to add in, I went a little crazy with the ingredients. Before I knew it, I had nearly every kind of vegetable I could think of cluttering up the kitchen counters!
Of course, this is hardly a bad thing. Vegetables need to become my best friend (I’m shooting for a 90% plant-based diet), so I have been trying to cram them into as many meals as possible lately. After all, vegetables are usually low in calories, low in fat, full of nutrients, and super filling (without the guilt!).
Voilà! I present to you: Vegetable and Bean Soup.
Despite indiscriminately throwing pretty much whatever I could get my hands on into the pot, this soup came out amazing! The great thing about it was how easy it was. I made the whole thing from scratch in less than thirty minutes (minus a mishap), which is perfect for anyone in a hurry.
Plus, because it is a purée, you can literally throw in whatever kind of vegetables and herbs you want. For me, this is an excellent way to hide the foods that I normally don’t want to eat on their own (ie. beans), but need to incorporate into my regular diet. It allowed me to repurpose some leftover veggies as well.
This soup recipe is quite ideal for anyone who observes a vegetarian, vegan, or otherwise plant-based diet. I did make two last minute additions to it that aren’t vegan/vegetarian-friendly, but these ingredients are completely optional, so it wouldn’t make or break the flavor itself if they were omitted.
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup baby carrots, chopped
- 1-1/2 cups green cabbage, chopped
- 3/4 cup purple cabbage, chopped
- 1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 bag butternut squash, frozen (approx. 2 cups)
- 1 bag fiesta mix*, frozen (approx. 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon butter or oil of choice
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups warm water
- 1 packet Lipton onion soup mix
*Fiesta Mix includes the following: broccoli, carrots, kidney beans, small white beans, garbanzo beans, italian green beans, red peppers
Suggested Seasonings (To Taste)
- black pepper
- onion powder
- smoked paprika
- cayenne pepper
- 1 bouillon cube, chicken or vegetable
- cream (for garnish)
- green onion (for garnish)
First, I sautéed the fresh vegetables with a little butter and some seasonings of choice. It would have been nice to throw in at least one potato, but I was fresh out. 😒 Go figure!
Ten to fifteen minutes on medium heat should do the trick, depending on the thickness of your cuts.
As for the seasonings, don’t be afraid to use your favorites (or even none at all). I rarely measure my seasonings, so I can’t give you specifics for this recipe. Aside from the salt (which was just a pinch), I was quite heavy-handed with the seasonings I chose this time around– especially the garlic. I love garlic. ❤️
Although I got lucky today and seasoned it perfectly right from the beginning, it’s good to go light at first. You can always taste it along the way, adding more of what you think it needs.
Once the cabbage was nicely wilted, I added in the water and onion soup mix. Be sure to stir well! Allow to reach a rolling boil.
How much water you add really depends on the texture of soup you prefer. I was going for a thicker, stick-to-your-ribs consistency, so I only added enough water to reach the top of my vegetables, but a thinner soup would definitely require more liquid. Just remember that more water might mean more seasonings!
Once everything started to boil, my frozen “fiesta mix” and butternut squash went into the pot. But then…
… I couldn’t help myself.
When I remembered the bag of fresh spinach that had recently been stored in the freezer, I simply had to add in several handfuls. It was pretty much compulsory. I mean, why not? 🤷🏽♀️
This is when I also threw in a chicken bouillon cube. I wanted an extra bit of flavoring, and this did the trick, but I definitely would have preferred using vegetable bouillon instead.
Once I was absolutely positive that there was nothing else to dump into the soup, I allowed it to once again reach a healthy boil. At this stage, you can simply cook everything until the vegetables reach your desired level of tenderness before serving.
However, since I wanted to puree everything together, a much longer cooking time was needed. I was looking for an extremely smooth soup, so I should have allowed the pot to remain on the heat until the broccoli was falling apart, buuuut… I was hungry and couldn’t wait. 😂
Up until this point, everything was going swimmingly. I hadn’t cut myself, burnt myself, or spilled anything, so things were A-okay. I got out the handy dandy immersion blender, did a few preliminary pulses around the pot, and got ready to give the soup a more thorough blending in the Ninja.
This is when everything went left. 🤦🏽♀️
After pouring the soup into the blender container and locking the lid in place, I powered on the Ninja and started gently pulsing everything. At first, it seemed as though I was going to have an incident-free cooking session– wrong! All of a sudden, I noticed a torrent of soup gushing out from under the lid towards the back of the blender. Bubbling away, it rushed down the container, landing in a gloppy puddle that threatened to get EVERYWHERE.
Apparently, the lid wasn’t as secure as it had appeared. 🙄
Of course, I had to stop what I was doing to clean up. Talk about an unholy mess! I couldn’t help, but shake my head. After what felt like the rest of the afternoon, everything was sopped up and wiped off. I was able to get everything blended properly, but not without holding my breath and pressing the lid down for good measure. I was NOT about to have another vegetable volcano eruption on my hands! 🌋
With the soup back in submission and an urge to finish cooking before another disaster could break out, I poured the blended soup into a new pot to simmer for another 5 minutes. This wasn’t particularly necessary, I just wanted to rewarm the soup and keep it hot until I was finished washing the dishes. 🧽🧼
Even though I would have been happy to eat the soup as is, I decided to throw in some cream just to give it an even smoother texture. Like the bouillon, this isn’t a must-have, but it did lighten the color and help to round out the spice of the cayenne pepper.
By the time I dipped a spoon down into the pot to taste the finished product, I couldn’t even fix the rest of my dinner. It was so good that I had two cups right then and there!
In hindsight, the first cup was more than enough; it was ridiculously filling. But just like when I was grabbing ingredients to make the soup, I totally got carried away enjoying it. It has kept me full for hours too, which makes this soup recipe a definite keeper.
As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of soups (especially in 80+ degree weather!!), this was exactly what I’d been craving. It was a little sweet, a little spicy, super Earthy, and blissfully rustic.
Although the texture didn’t get as smooth as I’d originally wanted (impatience got the best of me ☺️), I actually liked the consistency because it made me forget all about the absence of meat (aside from the bouillon, of course).
I hope you guys enjoyed seeing today’s creation! If any of you have plant-based recipes that you think I should try, please feel free to share down in the comments section below. I may feature it in a future post if I try it out! 🙂 ‘Til tomorrow!
Today was Day 71.
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