I feel like I’m getting a handle on what herbs and spices work together to make a delicious soup. You can add almost any vegetable to round out the flavor. It’s all about being a “minestrone” which means, you can use what ever vegetables you have and amounts are flexible!
Here is what I’ve come up with for a milder seasoning. (I use more of the spicy stuff for chili):
2 teaspoons of Chile Lime Seasoning Blend (Trader Joe’s)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon Umami Seasoning Blend (Trader Joe’s – Mushroom & Company)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Bay leaf
I mix these up and add them in layers because I read somewhere that it helps the flavors blend.
For the actual soup:
First I sauté (in water or broth) a cup or so of onions along with stalk or two of celery (including some of the leafy part).
Once this cooks a bit, I add in about a cup of the broth and sprinkle in some of the spice mixture, then I add in a couple of carrots and a sweet pepper — sometimes red, sometimes green and sometimes a mix.
Next comes a 16 oz can of diced tomato – I add a teaspoon or so of sugar to mellow this out — it’s still good without the sugar, though.
Then I add in some kidney beans (white and red) or any kind of beans I have on hand.
For variety, I sometimes include a cup or so of red lentils.
After I add in each item, I sprinkle a little more of the spice mix.
After adding in the beans, I pour in the rest of the broth. I use about 16 ounces of
low-sodium vegetable broth and about a cup or so of water. Then I add in the bay leaf.
After the soup simmers for about 20 minutes, I add in sliced zucchini and a cup of peas and a cup of corn — anything that needs less time to soften.
After another 30 minutes, it’s blended and ready to go.
Ingredient list for the soup:
1 16-oz box of vegetable broth
1 cup of water
1 cup diced onion
2 stalks celery
1 sweet pepper
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans of beans
1 cup corn
1 cup peas
1 cup red lentils
1 zucchini sliced (green or yellow – or both)
P.S. One thing I like about retirement is that it’s so great to have TIME to cook. It’s kind of therapeutic and fun — and being retired, means I can take my time and I like that!