Gardening Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Vegan Vegetarian

Chilled Tomato and Basil Soup

It’s funny how things work.  The hot weather has just about cooked my basil plants and they are looking a bit sad, but the heat is helping my tomato plants thrive.  I guess I’ll have to go out and get a couple of more basil plants, since we’re nowhere near August, when Maryland tomatoes are at their peak.

I’m thinking the tomatoes I used for this recipe came up from Florida.  They’re good, but Maryland tomatoes are better. 🙂

This is a very easy recipe to prepare.  Serve it up with a baguette and salad, and you’ll have a terrific summer meal.

Italy Main Course Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Vegan Vegetarian


I was sitting in an outdoor cafe in Florence the first time I had Panzanella. The main component of this frugal Tuscan dish is stale bread.

Teamed up with tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and basil, mixed together in a vinaigrette, the dish sings.

Now that things are getting hot and humid, this recipe makes for a terrific light lunch or dinner.  Serve it up with a Pinot Grigio or some other light white, preferably from the same region of Italy where this bread salad is a lunch/dinner-time staple.  

Main Course Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Vegan Vegetarian

Spring Vegetable Soup

Last weekend, I ventured out to a local institution called Baugher’s. Initially a 60 acre farm, now Baugher’s has morphed into a restaurant, market, and nursery.  Because of all the chain stores and restaurants that have popped up in our area, this 100-year-old establishment is struggling.

I was there to buy a pie, which are also famous in these parts, and ended up with a bunch of very ripe, on-the-vine tomatoes.  Since my tomato plants are only just now in flower, it will be many weeks before I’ll be able to eat my own.

The one’s from Baugher’s must have come up from Florida, and usually, I don’t take a risk with store-bought tomatoes, which generally have no taste.  Not these.  They packed tons of flavor, and I was glad I bought them.  Since they were so ripe, I needed to do something with them quickly, so used up some other veggies I had on hand, and the result was this soup.  Enjoy 🙂

Main Course Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Vegan Vegetarian

Lentil and Rhubarb Stew

I saw a version of this recipe the other day, and set off this morning for my first visit to the local farmer’s market intending to pick up some key ingredients.

Farmer’s Markets are a great place to get local produce, and although the pickings were a bit slim today, I was able to get rhubarb and spinach.  I’ve never been a big fan of rhubarb, probably because I never had it prepared properly.  It has a fruity and slightly tangy taste, which complements the Indian spices used in this stew.  I was glad to try it out in something new.

To have a more complete meal, you can ladle the stew over cooked whole grains, such as quinoa or brown rice.

Main Course Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Vegan Vegetarian

Colleen’s 17 Bean & Barley Soup

I recently had the chance to visit the beautiful new home of one of my friends.  After a tour, we sat down for bowls of this delicious and filling soup.  Colleen took the basic recipe found on the bean and barley package and enhanced it by adding her own ingredients.  The results were terrific, and we kept going back for more. I bet you’ll do the same.

Colleen’s 17 Bean & Barley Soup

Serves 8

1 bag Trader Joe’s 17 Bean and Barley Mix (16 oz.)

2 32 oz Trader Joe’s low sodium vegetable broth

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup celery, thickly cut

1 cup carrot, thickly cut

1 cup bell pepper, chopped

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

¾ cup southwest style frozen vegetables

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 tsp olive oil

1 tb paprika

1 tb steak seasoning

1 tb Italian seasoning

3 bay leaves

1 14.5 oz crushed tomatoes

1 14.5 oz diced tomatoes

¾ cup dry red wine

3 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

In large saucepan, cover dried beans with triple their volume in cold water.  Bring to a boil; then lower heat and cook uncovered beans over moderate heat for two minutes. Remove pan from heat and soak beans for one hour.

As beans are soaking, heat olive oil on medium heart in sauté pan. Add onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, mushrooms and sauté until soft.  Add garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.  Add frozen vegetable mix and heat through.

Rinse soaked beans and place in large soup pot. Add vegetable mixture, broth, along with remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper) and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered for one hour.  Remove bay leaves, and add salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy 🙂

Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Vegan Vegetarian

Lima Bean Soup

I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t always a fan of lima beans.  I guess it was something about the consistency, but who knows.

Recently, my next door neighbor sent a container of this soup over and it was actually quite tasty.  Here’s a version I think you’ll like.  Somehow, it reminds me that spring is coming:)

Main Course Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Vegan Vegetarian

Sweet Potato Soup

Growing up, I don’t remember ever eating a sweet potato.  I’m not sure why, but it was only recently that I started integrating them into my diet.  Sweet Potatoes are a great source of nutrition.  High in fiber, they are loaded with vitamins A and C, iron and calcium.  I hope you’ll give this soup a try, even if you’ve never had sweet potatoes before 🙂

Don’t be afraid of the peanut butter.  It adds a great depth to this soup, which originated in Africa.

Main Course Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Vegan Vegetarian

Tomato and Bulgur Soup

Forgive me for having two back to back tomato soup recipes.  The snowy cold weather has been hanging around my neck of the woods, and any kind of tomato soup always seems to pull me out of the winter blues.  I want SPRING 🙂

Actually, I was also looking to use up my store of bulgur wheat that I purchased for my Lentil Chili recipe.  Bulgur wheat is a whole grain.  The kind I use from Bob’s Red Mill is red wheat that has been parboiled, dried, and ground.  It thickens anything you add it to.

I’ve learned recently that its very important to eat 3-5 servings of whole grains each day.  The Whole Grains Council has terrific information about the health benefits of adding whole grains to your diet.  You’ll also find some great recipes there.  Adding bulgur wheat to this easy soup recipe is an easy way to get a part of your daily requirement.  

Inspiration Italy Main Course Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Vegan Vegetarian

Tomato and Bread Soup

I was visiting with a family the other day, and all the kids were home because school had been cancelled.  When my friend asked them what they wanted for lunch, they asked for “red” soup.  Interesting.  I realized that, since the mom and dad don’t like tomatoes, they must not use that name with their kids.  It brought a smile to my face. What kid doesn’t like a bowl of tomato soup, served up with a grilled cheese sandwich?

The soup for this weekend is one of the easiest soups to make, and one of the best tasting.  I remember having it for the first time when my family and I were in Florence one October. Pappa al Pomodoro is true Tuscan peasant food.  I got the recipe from  How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.  The book arrived the other day as a birthday gift from my brother and his family.  It was a great choice 🙂

Main Course Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Vegan Vegetarian

Potato and Leek Soup

Since it looks like its cold just about everywhere, I know we’re all looking for some comfort food.  Most recipes for Potato and Leek soup include heavy cream, chicken broth and butter as ingredients.  One recipe I found online included a full pound of bacon.  Oh my…

In my desire for something more healthy, I wanted to lighten things up.   Give this easy and filling recipe a try.