A hearty vegetable soup that’s a snap to make and so much better than the stuff from a can.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 heaping Tablespoon minced garlic
- 4 oz. kale or spinach (6 cups) shredded
- 1 (1 lb.) bag frozen mixed Italian vegetables such as zucchini, green beans, cauliflower, and broccoli
- 1 (14½ oz) can "petite" diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 cup ditalini pasta or small elbow macaroni
- 5 to 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (19 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- Heat oil in a stock pot and add the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add kale and sauté, stirring, 1 minute.
- Add frozen vegetables, tomatoes with juice, pasta, broth, water, salt, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place half of beans into a wide shallow bowl and coarsely mash them with a fork or a potato masher, then stir mashed and whole beans into soup and simmer, stirring occasionally, until soup is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
SPINACH & ARUGULA:
Please note: Only flat leaf spinach is recommended because its flat surface lends itself to efficient washing. Curly leaf spinach is difficult to clean and check. It is therefore not recommended.
INFESTATION: Spinach and arugula tend to be highly infested throughout the year. Light green thrips are often found in the small curls of the leaves. Occasionally, worms may be found in burrows within the body of the leaf. Look for a narrow (1/8_) translucent burrow speckled with black dots breaking up the deep green color of the leaf. These burrows will often trap the worm within the leaf. To rid the leaf of these worms, carefully slit the bumpy part within the burrow with a sharp knife and remove the worm.
- Soak leaves in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, care must be taken to thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
- Separate the spinach leaves and agitate them in the soapy solution.
- Using a heavy stream of water or a power hose, remove all foreign matter and soap from the leaf surface. Alternatively, a vegetable brush may be used on both sides of the leaf.
- Several leaves should be checked over a light box or under strong overhead light to verify that the washing procedure has been effective. Both sides of the leaf must be checked.
- If it is practical, it is best to check each leaf.