Due to a very welcome distraction from real life (our most dear friends were in town visiting), I am extending "Soup Week" just a bit. Soup or no soup, I felt like this had to be included in the month of January. I don't know how many of us have already fallen off of our New Years' Resolutions already, but knowing that common ones are to eat healthier and add more vegetables to our diet, this soup might be the perfect remedy.
It's actually a spin on the Weight Watchers Zero Point Vegetable Soup recipe, which although I've not done Weight Watchers, I know that Zero Points means you can eat as much as you want and not feel guilty.
Make up a big pot (the recipe is huge!) of this soup and enjoy healthy lunches all week long or freeze in individual portions for a quick reheat. Resolution or no resolution, this one will have you feeling good.
Garden Vegetable Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced (optional)
2 stalks celery, diced
6 cups vegetable juice (V-8 reduced sodium recommended brand)
6 cups beef (or vegetable) broth
1 large red potato, scrubbed and diced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
1/2 cup pearled barley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 small head of cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds) roughly chopped
1/2 pound frozen cut green beans
1 head kale, leaves washed stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces (optional)
1 large zucchini, cut into half moons (optional)
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute garlic, onion, carrots and parsnip (if using) until vegetables begin to soften. Add in celery, vegetable juice, broth, potato, mushrooms, barley and thyme. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer until potato and barley are tender. Stir in cabbage, green beans, kale and zucchini (if using) and cook an additional five minutes or until cabbage and zucchini are tender. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if needed.
Adapted from: A Veggie Venture