This is my favorite soup. It’s not really a big deal. In fact it’s pretty simple, and every time I make it, it’s different. I’ve even posted about it before using lentils and with pasta mixed in with very slightly different seasonings.
This soup is incredibly adaptable. I usually always have carrots and celery in my fridge because they’re two vegetables that my kids will snack on raw, and they last longer than a week, so I always have them in the fridge as backup for if I didn’t buy enough other veggies. But you can adapt this to whatever you have. More carrots, less celery or even add in some other vegetables like peppers. Or substitute the greens for a different kind, or something else completely. As long as the base flavors in the onion, garlic, tomatoes and seasonings are the same, this soup will be delicious, I promise 🙂
Even the beans can be swapped out for quite a few different things. I’ve used just about every kind of bean in this soup and it always tastes good. Lentils work just as well, and I love how they taste. Plus, even if you don’t have any cooked on hand they can easily be cooked with the soup until tender because they don’t need to cook as long as beans.
Like I did the last time I posted a very similar soup, you can add pasta. You can even add fun shaped pasta to make it more fun for the kids – if you can find some – but usually we just stick to whole grain macaroni or broken up pieces of spaghetti if we go that route. You could also add any leftover cooked grains to your bowl like brown rice or even cooked wheat berries, to make it a little more filling. Although usually I just prefer to leave the grains out and serve this alongside a thick slice of whole wheat bread with butter.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 C diced carrots
- 1 C diced celery
- 4-5 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 1 32 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp marjoram
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
- black pepper to taste
- a pinch of sugar or tiny drizzle of honey
- 1 can chickpeas(about 2 1/4 C), drained and rinsed
- 1-2 large handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped
- A large handful fresh parsley, or about 1/4-1/3C dried
In a medium sized dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the carrots and celery and continue to saute while stirring for 4-5 more minutes. Add the garlic and saute only for a minute or two before adding the tomatoes. Add the thyme, marjoram, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the pot and bring up to a boil. Also add the sugar or honey at this point, just to counter the acidity of the canned tomatoes. Alternatively you can use about 4 C fresh tomatoes and omit the sugar/honey. Turn down to a simmer and cook just until the vegetables are tender. I prefer to keep mine fairly firm, but cook until they are as soft as you like.
Once the vegetables are tender, add the chickpeas, spinach and parsley. Bring back up to temperature and cook just until the spinach leaves are wilted. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaf and serve while hot, over cooked grains, pasta or beside whole grain bread.