Sometimes the best meals are the ones made with foods that are easy to find at the local grocery store.
There is nothing fancy or exotic about this hearty autumn soup, but it’s the kind of soup that you will want to make over and over again. Made with an array of garden and root vegetables, potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, white cabbage and pure tomato purée, one bowl is a complete meal. You can substitute with other vegetables. I sometimes add a handful of cherry tomatoes with their peels. However, don’t omit the white cabbage. The cabbage truly gives this soup a rich-earthy flavour. Vegans and non-vegans can enjoy it.
Hearty autumn soup
Chop the following vegetables in bite-size chunks:
- 2 leeks with green stems
- 1 large cooking onion (chopped smaller than the veggies)
- 6 medium-size carrots, peeled
- 6 medium-size celery sticks with leaves
- 2 medium-size zucchinis with skin
- 4 medium-size potatoes, peeled
Set aside the following ingredients:
- 3 tablespoons (tbsp) olive oil
- 2-4 garlic buds, pressed
- Italian herbs (dry, fresh or a mix of both), to taste
- 1 bottle (700 grams) pure tomato purée
- 3 big basil leaves, torn in pieces
- 8 cups of water – can add more water later
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 jars (350-400 grams each) of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup dry green lentils
- Salt, ground pepper & powdered paprika, to taste
- A dash of soya sauce (naturally fermented; low sodium)
- 2 cups white cabbage, shredded using a long-blade knife
- 1 handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
- A dash of balsamic vinegar
In a sieve, rinse the chopped veggies in batches under cold running water. Set these aside.
Heat up the olive oil in a large soup pot.
On medium-high, sauté the prepared vegetables with the garlic and Italian herbs for about 15 minutes.
Add the tomato purée, basil leaves, water and tomato paste. Keep stirring and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
Add the chick peas, lentils, salt, paprika, pepper and soya sauce. Let this simmer for 15 minutes with lid half on, stirring from time to time.
Add some water if you find the soup is too thick.
Mix in the white cabbage, parsley leaves and balsamic vinegar and simmer for another 15 minutes with lid half on, stirring from time to time.
Take off heat. Stir well and let the soup settle for at least 10 minutes with cover off before serving.
Add some extra water if need be; adjust spices/seasonings.
Serve with crusty bread.