This hearty soup brings a healthy and tasty dose of vegetables to the table to boost the immune system. Make ahead and freeze for later using our freezing instructions.
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2–3 celery stalks, sliced
- 2 cups carrots, diced
- 3 garlic cloves
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4–1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use less if you don’t like heat)
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 12 cups (or three 32-ounce cartons) of chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (look for BPA-free cans)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup lentils (any kind will work; rinse first)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 cup mushrooms, diced
- 1 cup cauliflower, chopped finely
- 1 cup broccoli, chopped finely
- 2–3 cups spinach, chopped
- 1–2 cups frozen green peas
Make It Now:
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.
- Saute the onions, carrots, and celery for about 4-5 minutes, until tender. Add in the garlic and stir for 1 more minute. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (to your preferred heat level), and Italian seasoning.
- Stir in the chicken or vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, lentils, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer (slight bubbling), stirring occasionally. Season again lightly with salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in the zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, and broccoli and simmer another 5-10 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach and frozen peas and turn off the heat (or turn to low), so they don’t overcook. Remove bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
- If you like, serve with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese and/or whole grain crackers or crusty bread.
Freeze For Later: Follow steps 1-5. Let the soup cool completely. Suggestion: divide soup into some shallow pans to put in the refrigerator to cool it more quickly. Divide soup into gallon-sized freezer bags or containers, squeeze out excess air, seal, and freeze.
Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these safe thawing methods. Then reheat gently over low heat on the stove or in a crock pot. Another option is to put the frozen soup block over low to medium-low heat on the stove top or in a crock pot. Add about 1-2 cups of water or broth over the top. Gently warm over low to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Follow step 6 for serving.
It’s a good idea to chop your veggies all about the same size, so they cook evenly and they are bite-sized.