2011-05-22

Kitchen Sink Soup


When food allergies are first diagnosed, cooking becomes incredibly challenging.  My best suggestion when confronted with this overwhelming change in lifestyle is to keep meals very simple during that first period of adjustment, and save the search for new ingredients, substitutions and products for a little later.

This soup  is a bowl of comfort with endless variations, perfect for that transitional period and any time after.  It has a tomato base with lentils and potatoes plus any vegetables that are in season or on hand.  It's gluten free, vegan, nutritious, thrifty, delicious and filling.  I've added turkey sausage when my meat eating Midwestern family comes to visit, and lost track of the other variations I've made over the years.

Soup has another magical property.  Vegetables that are controversial on my son's plate get gobbled down without hesitation when bathed in a savory broth.  What's not to love?

The ingredients that usually stay the same when I make this are in bold print; feel free to add, omit or substitute the others according to whatever strikes your fancy or is available in your pantry.

Kitchen Sink Soup
(Click here for printable version.)

2 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced, with leaves reserved
2-3 carrots, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic or 1 tsp powdered garlic
salt and ground pepper to taste
2 Tbs dried mixed Italian herbs
29 oz can crushed or pureed tomatoes
6-8 C water
1 C dried lentils, rinsed
1-2 lbs potatoes, peeled if desired and cut into small cubes
fresh herbs if available (I added some basil)
9-12 oz bag washed baby spinach

Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium.  Add onion, celery, carrots and seasonings.  Stir occasionally while cooking until onions are translucent.  Add tomatoes, water, lentils, potatoes herbs and reserved celery leaves.  Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes until lentils and potatoes are soft.  Stir in spinach and adjust seasonings immediately before serving.

Makes a ginormous pot of soup.  The leftovers freeze well.

Getting down with the soup.
I wanted to take a photo of the soup on the stove, but The Kid thought I should take a pic of him with the soup instead.  If you look over his left shoulder, you can just see the simmering Dutch oven.  (By the way, if you are ever offered a free haircut by a student barber for your squirmy child, just say NO.  Trust me on this.)

I'm sharing my big pot o'soup with:


Finally here's a gratuitous shot of the Japanese Eggplant that just started flowering on my patio.  I'll be posting more about our container garden later!

7 comments:

mom-b said...

ohhh yum, thanks for sharing

Deb in Hawaii said...

This looks delicious--I love go-to soups that you can throw together, improvise with what you have on hand. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. ;-)

The Vanilla Bean Baker said...

A big bowl of healthy hearty soup! Looks wonderful. Your son is so cute.

p.s. the hair will grow back :)

Speedbump Kitchen said...

I agree. Soup making is probably the number one skill to learn when dealing with allergic kids. You can hide so many good veggies in there to round out the limited diet. Plus you can freeze stuff for later.

Smitha said...

Hello Libby,

Thanks for your delicious entry. True soups are magical and we love leftovers as well..

Smitha@kannadacuisine.

isa burger said...

Hi Libby great blog. My son (3) tested for allergies to everything, including: trees, catfish, dog hair, eggs, soy, and all nuts. Well, we did have a scare with the nuts severely so we carry an epipen. However, my mom told me 38 years ago I was diagnosed with a lot of allergies too, and she exposed me to everything so I outgrew it.
Since then I give my son eggs, and soy constantly and we have a dog. Those allergies, I am told, are easily outgrown, however Nuts, not likely.
Good luck all.

Lindsay said...

Yum! That soup sounds delish! Thanks for sharing. :)