Tomato-Vegetable Winter Soup

For the first time in quite a while, California is experiencing a wet winter. While a welcome relief from our historic drought, the combination of chilly temperatures and rain calls for warming, hearty soups.

I love soup, but without a good helping of protein, they can leave one unsatisfied. Sausage tends to be my favorite way to bulk up soup, but I’ve been experimenting with a vegetarian-friendly addition of beans instead and am quite happy with the results. A steaming bowl of this soup, along with a warm hunk of buttered bread and a glass of wine is the perfect remedy for a rainy night in.

Ingredients

2 medium carrots

5 cloves garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

6 stalks celery

1 medium onion

2 bay leaves

6 cups broth (homemade is always a wonderful choice)

15 oz tomato purée

2 cups cannelli beans (if you have the time, cook them yourself. If not, canned is dine)

6 oz spinach

Directions

Add oil to a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Chop carrots, celery, onion and garlic, then add to pot with the bay leaves. Sauté until softened (about 7 minutes), stirring frequently.

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Add broth, tomato purée and beans.

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Bring soup to a boil, then let simmer until soup reaches desired consistency.

Add spinach, then stir to incorporate into the pot. Stir occasionally until spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes.

Serve hot.

NOTE: Soup is especially good re-heated. Just return the pot to the stove and simmer for 15-20 minutes until re-heated all the way through.

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