Vegetable Chowder

I always look forward to January. I enjoy the cool weather, wearing layers, a nice fire in the fireplace and of course soup! Soup is one of my favorite meals for lunch and dinner because I can pack a nutritional powerhouse into one bowl. Soup is also very comforting to the body and spirit. I feel emotionally grounded and reflective over a bowl of soup. Emotional eating can be a good thing!

I was craving a good, creamy soup the other day. I looked in my refrigerator and pantry and came up with this recipe. RIGHT ON! This recipe really hit my “soup spot” and gave me ample protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep me going strong. The great thing about soup is you can create a delicious meal with what you have on hand – grains, legumes, vegetables, pasta, spices. It’s so fun to create a soup that is all your own. Give this recipe a try and enjoy the comfort a nice bowl of soup brings. Stay warm!

*My tip for getting a creamy soup without using dairy or fat: pureed beans. I recommend using a high-powered blender to get a nice, smooth consistency.

a good drizzle of grapeseed oil (optional)
1/2 onion, diced
3 small carrots, sliced
2 large stalks celery, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup fresh green beans, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 cup water
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (15-ounces) garbanzo beans, undrained
1 cup lentil macaroni pasta
1 cup steamed broccoli florets, cut in half
1/2 cup frozen peas

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Drizzle in some grapeseed oil, if using. Saute onion, carrots and celery for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Alternatively, you can dry saute the onion, carrots and celery adding in a bit of water to prevent sticking.
In a high-powered blender, place garbanzo beans. Blend until a nice puree is achieved. Set aside. To the soup pot, add in garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Stir well and cook for 1 minute. Add in green beans, water, broth and bean puree. Stir well. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add in lentil macaroni, broccoli and peas. Simmer for 10 minutes. Taste for seasonings. Serve.

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