Roasted vegetable soup

Due to a lot of socialising (which normally entails eating out and drinks) recently, by the end of every weekend I typically find myself desperately in need of a healthy Sunday night meal that will have leftovers for lunches throughout the week.  Given that it’s “cold” here right now, meaning Boston spring weather, I have been making a fair amount of soup.  This is definitely more an autumn dish than a summer one, so U.S. people, maybe wait till September.

This soup basically just combines my favourite concept of roasting vegetables with broth and an added healthy boost from spinach.  It’s incredibly simple but I like the idea of roasting the vegetables instead of just cooking them in the broth because it adds a bit more flavour to what otherwise might be considered a fairly boring soup.  You could of course vary it by adding in broccoli instead of cauliflower, or some caramelised onions, or a different type of bean, or make it non-veggie by adding some roasted shredded chicken.  As with most simple soups, the possibilities are varied and this recipe should just be your jumping off point for your own healthy creations!

Roasted vegetable soup (adapted from Fishtails and Pearls)

1/2 butternut squash (or go ahead and use a whole one – not a problem), peeled and diced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (I’ve made this with and without – feel free to leave it off)
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 small head of cauliflower or half a big head, cut into florets
1 can of chickpeas
A couple zucchini if you so desire (I just like to add even more green veggies into my soup)
1 cup of leftover tomato sauce or 1 can of chopped tomatoes (I like to use the latter)
1 bag of baby spinach
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Roast the butternut squash, sweet potatoes if using, and carrots in one pan at 200 C / 400 F.  Roast the cauliflower in a separate pan as it will take a bit less time.  If you like you can toss them with olive oil and salt and pepper, but I typically just use non-stick spray and season them later.  The cauliflower shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes, and the other root vegetables more than 25-30.  I don’t like them to go totally soft and you’ll put them in the soup later anyway so if in doubt take them out sooner rather than later.   Then make sure to let them cool for about 20-30 minutes before the soup.

While they are cooling, make the rest of the soup: add 5-6 cups of water (or you can use a mixture of water and vegetable broth) to a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add the chickpeas and tomatoes, turn the heat down, and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes, adding some spices if you desire.  I just like to add dried basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, or a combination of any of them.  Then add the zucchini if you are using it and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.  When you’ve tasted (and added salt/pepper/more spices as necessary) and it’s to your satisfaction, then turn off the heat, mix in all the vegetables (they should be warm but not super hot at this point) and add the bag of spinach, and stir it in which will cause it all to wilt nicely.  You can also do this while it’s still on low heat but only let it cook for about a minute more at that point as you don’t want anything to be overcooked.

For serving, you can garnish with some freshly grated parmesan or peccorino and have warm fresh bread…or you can be good and detox-y like I try to be when making this soup and just eat a big bowl of it on its own with a sliced orange on the side.  Really, being healthy is fun. (Sometimes.)

IMG_5204I roasted the cauliflower separately from the other veggies but then combined it for the purposes of this pic (just so we are clear).  Carrots, bnut squash, and sweet potatoes all have very similar roasting times though so it’s totally fine to put them in the same pan.
IMG_5206Meanwhile add the tomatoes and broth to a big pot with the chickpeas – after it simmered for a while I added in some zucchini as well
IMG_5207As a last step, add in the spinach and the cooked roasted veggies and turn the heat off after just a minute – spinach wilts very fast.
IMG_5228Completed soup chock full of roasted veggies and spinach

You will definitely feel virtuous eating a bowl of this, but not in a bad martyr-like way, just in an “oh look what I made and how healthy this is” way.   And it smells wonderful while cooking as all soups should.  This is a great soup recipe to have in your rotation!

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