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It was 32 degrees here last night, cold all day and light snow is expected tonight. It’s been snowing heavily in the mountains (yeah!). Monday’s CSA delivery had no chance of becoming anything other than farm-fresh soup. Other than garlic, broth, olive oil and one small sweet potato, I used what was in my delivery box and made a big batch of soup. It could have easily been a salad had I not cooked the ingredients.

I forgot to put the spinach in the before photo (my share box was absolutely overflowing again). Imagine a sweet potato where that gorgeous egg plant is and imagine it surrounded by rich, vibrant spinach leaves. As I was busy chopping away, I decided a sweet potato played into this soup better than the eggplant, so I switched those out at the last minute. I’ll figure out something with the egg plant later this week. Eggplant parmesan with a homemade tomato sauce?

Here’s the before picture.

VeggieBasket

Here’s the after picture.

BowlSoup

Salad in the form of warm, soothing soup
What you need (anything you want, but I used the following)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 bay leaves
2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks (about 3/4 inch cubes)
6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 cup water
3 carrots, washed and cut into chunks (don’t you love those chubby carrots)
3 celery stalks, washed and chopped into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces, leaves and all
2 cups washed, trimmed and sliced green beans (1 – 2 inch pieces)
2 cups washed and chopped zucchini (1 inch pieces)
corn kernels from 1 ear of corn (uncooked, removed from the cob)
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 – 2 cups spinach, washed and chopped into large pieces
herbs such as thyme, rosemary and basil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

what you do
• Heat the olive oil over low heat in a large stock pot. Add onion and bay leaves and stir frequently for 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add sweet potato, stir occasionally and cook 5 more minutes. Pour 1 cup of the broth over the vegetables, increase heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes.

• Add the next 5 cups of broth and the 1 cup of water and bring to a light boil or simmer. Add the carrots, celery and green beans and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the zucchini and corn and simmer another 5 minutes.

• Add the diced tomatoes and the herbs and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the spinach, cook another 2 to 3 minutes, season with salt and pepper, remove the bay leaves and serve. Top with a touch of shredded cheese if you’d like (Parmesan or Monterey Jack is good).

These cooking times are flexible, but I’ve found this “layering” method works well with so many different types of vegetables. Put the veggies that take the most time to cook in the pot first, ending with things like herbs, tomatoes and greens that take much less time. I like my soups with crunchy vegetables and vibrant colors and if you over-cook the soup, you lose both characteristics.

Go forth and make salad into soup on cold days!
Melissa

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19 Responses to “farm fresh salad soup”

  1. Soup looks great. I love soup all year round but especially when it gets cold. Wow, it’s cold already there and snow. It’s a good thing you like the cold and snow.

  2. Betsy says:

    That looks great! Soup is my favorite cold weather meal…really warms you up. I love the sweet potatoes in there. You don’t see that in a mixed vegetable soup very often! Thanks so sharing. Already printed it out and can’t wait to try!

  3. Alta says:

    This sounds wonderful. I love a soup made with mixed fresh vegetables. Yum.

  4. Miles says:

    That soup looks so inviting Melissa, after a long drive from the Lake District I could just do with that. You really can’t beat food like this, for me it’s what cooking is all about.
    Miles

  5. Linda says:

    That looks delicious. I love the colors.

  6. greedydave says:

    Melissa,

    That does look good! Chunky freshness with every spoonful. There is something just so satisfying about a good veggie soup and I have no doubt that the spare aubergine will meet a tasty and inventive end at the hands of Miss Eggplant. :)

    GDave

  7. Melissa says:

    Diane,

    I do love the winter. While I love all the rest of them as well, winter is my favorite. I’ve been eating this soup for the past few days. It gets better each day. Yesterday i had some for breakfast.

    :-)

  8. Melissa says:

    Betsy,

    Miles (see comment #4) is the one who turned me on to sweet potatoes in soups and stews. He had a recipe on his blog for sweet potatoes in beef stew. It was heavenly, so I’ve used them in soups and stews ever since. Plus, the color is wonderful.

  9. Melissa says:

    Alta,

    Yes, especially when the vegetables are farm fresh and local!

  10. Melissa says:

    Miles,

    Wish I could share some with you as you were the one who taught me to throw sweet potatoes into soups and stews. Same with the herbs. I referred to my trusty “Miles’ Herb Tips” taped to the inside of my spices cabinet.

    Thanks!

  11. Melissa says:

    Linda,

    The colors are so vibrant, especially the herbs and the greens if you add them at the end. I have to say though, the colors are much more muted now (2 days later), but the taste is even better. When it sits around for a day or two, the flavors blend so nicely.

  12. Melissa says:

    GDave,

    You had me for a minute with the Miss Eggplant comment. Aaah, you’re referring to my role as Miss Eggplant on the National Nutrition Month float last year. The parade, right?

    Boy, you have a sparkling memory. Of course, since I make up half of those crazy stories, they don’t stick in my mind that long. You’re as sharp as a tack, my friend! Of course, you Brits call it aubergine, which is so much more sophisticated than egg plant.

    Yes, I was the famous Miss Aubergine. Now I remember.

  13. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    It all looks and sounds perfect for the season. I know a place that sells excellent parmesan!! Cave aged Gruyere grated is also good if you can find it. The global soup kitchen kicks off with a seasonal winner… warms the body and must be good for the soul.

    Cid

  14. greedydave says:

    Melissa,

    Was it really last year?? It’s crazy what sticks in your head sometimes. I really thought that nick would stick! :)

    GDave

  15. Melissa says:

    Cid,

    I’m thrilled that you’ll be our Soup Siren cheese-ologist. That will make for nothing less than high-quality products.

    But cave-aged? Like scary mountain lion caves? We have those around here, although they’re referred to as dens, not caves I suppose.

    Sounds rather exotic, which will be perfect!

    Yes, there’s nothing like hot soups and stews to warm the body AND soul. You’re so right about that. I may make a green chile stew today.

    Anxiously awaiting kitchen news.

    :-)

  16. Melissa says:

    GDave,

    Not only do I make things up, I also have no clue when, where or why. Now that you mentioned it though, I think it was probably a few months ago, rather than last year.

    Nick would stick?

    You’ve lost me again, my friend. Is this a Glaswegian term?

  17. Kay says:

    Hey Melissa! Your soup looks great! You know all those baskets I keep by the back door are filled with the same veggies as your CSA box, so I have all the ingredients. And our temps are supposed to plummet in a couple of days. Perfect soup weather!

    And I’m really impressed with your tomato harvest. Isn’t gardening swell? My big tomatoes are nearly done, but I’m still picking cherry tomatoes. The bush beans have quit, but the pole beans are still cranking out the produce.

    I started my new job three weeks ago. The new chicken coop was sooooo close to finished, maybe a week away. With my new schedule, I get to spend about three hours a week on it now. This could take forever! I like my job but miss hanging out with the chickens.

    It’s great to read your blog. Wish I had time to keep mine up.

  18. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    It’s a well known fact over here that mountain lions eat all the cheese in the caves around Colorado, but Gruyere is their favourite…. you can’t blame them really :) One cheese they don’t like is Stinking Bishop… I sell lots of it and never once has a lion been seen in my deli :)

    Cid

    p.s. Melissa, the powers that be tell me the kitchen is going to take another two weeks to finish… should I believe them? The guys have taking a liking to my organic Sumatran coffee beans, will changing to instant help push the project along do you think? :)

  19. I’m working backwards catching up. Clearly I’ve been away a while!

    I layer my soups, too, and I eat soup for breakfast fairly often. Why not? Yours is beautiful. Now that eggplant parmesan sounds wonderful, too.

    Shirley

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