Soup is the salad of winter. I would never eat a cold salad for lunch in February, but I will definitely eat bowl after steaming bowl of soup. We have at least one kind of soup each week. It’s an easy lunch for me or a great quick dinner with a piece of crusty bread or a grilled cheese sandwich.
Normally, I have some kind of leftover meat in the soup. A piece of ham, some bacon, maybe a few odd bits of chicken. That’s what’s great about soup, you can scrabble it together from any type of leftovers. The soup I’ve made for you today can be vegetarian, just use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. Of course you can also amp up the soup with the addition of meat, if you please.
closely adapted from a recipe from Annie’s Eats
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T tomato paste
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1 1/2 quarts all-natural, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
15 oz diced tomatoes
15 oz cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
2 t Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 Parmesan rind (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
6 oz. dried tortellini
1 bunch Swiss chard, with stems removed and sliced (or other leafy green)
Freshly grated Parmesan, to finish
It’s so much easier if you use the idea of mise en place (having everything prepped before you begin cooking). I used to be a grab-as-you-go kind of girl. But, once I adopted the idea of doing all the gathering and chopping before beginning the cooking process, I ended up with much better results. And, you’re WAY less likely to get halfway in to a recipe and realize you’re missing ingredients. It’s super frustrating when that happens. It also eliminates a lot of the stress around prepping the ingredients.So take a few minutes and gather everything together. Do the chopping and measuring and off you go.
Even though I gathered everything, everything did NOT make it into the photo. Obviously I was having a moment. 5 points to Gryffindor if you can figure out what I left out. 10 more if you have any idea what that joke means. :)
Ah, yes, the chard. You are correct. There were two types of chard when I was shopping, red and white (obvi!). The red is so beautiful! I bought both so you could see them. I used half of each in my soup. You don’t have to do that. Chard has a super earthy taste. If you’re not customarily an eater of greens, you might want to turn back the dial and go for kale or collards, spinach would also be fine. It doesn’t really matter which green you choose, but definitely put some greens in. It’s good and it’s good for you.
In your favorite soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Let it get nice and hot before dropping in the chopped onion. Saute the onion until it’s tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Saute another minute until you can smell the garlic.
Believe me when I say, tomato paste in a tube was not available in any store when I was growing up. I only stumbled upon this wonder in my grown-up life. I LOOOOOVE it. I mean love, love, love it. It lives in the fridge and you use only as much as you need. In my grocery store it’s not with the regular tomato paste in a can, but off by itself in the Italian food section. If you don’t have access to this, you can also buy a regular can of tomato paste, portion out teaspoons or tablespoonfuls onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and freeze them. Once they are frozen, plop them in a container or freezer bag and store them in the freezer. Then you can just pull out what you need. You could also do it in an ice cube tray. Not sure you’d want to make ice in it after that, but whatever. That’s up to you.
Rinsing and draining your beans is an important step in any recipe. Aside from removing the (grody) bean juice, it also gets rid of a ton of sodium. Much healthier.
This is what Parmesan rinds look like. I get a few in a tub then store them in the fridge. They won’t totally dissolve in the soup so you’ll have to fish them out later. They lend a nice richness to the soup so if you can find them, do put them in. You may have to ask at your cheese counter to get one (if your store even has such a thing!)
Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind.
Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add the sliced chard and tortellini.
Return the soup to a simmer and cook the tortellini to package directions. If your tortellini is fresh instead of dry, it will take less time. It shouldn’t take more than about 10 minutes.
Remove the Parmesan rind and bay leaf. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with croutons or freshly grated Parmesan on top.
So there you go! A perfect quick dinner you can serve tonight! A nice piece of crusty bread on the side and I’m in heaven!
Do you have a favorite soup? Do you eat soup in the cooler months or year round?
I’m linking up to SoupaPalooza, you should check it out!