It’s been a really busy time around here – we moved out of our house for about 10 days in order to get our floors refinished, alongside all the other work/school/social things we have going on. Needless to say, even though we stayed not too far away with access to a kitchen, I wasn’t cooking much while we were gone. Life got extremely disorganized really quickly, as it tends to do.
Since fall has finally hit in full force, the second we got back I got excited to make soup. I am pretty into soup, you see. I realize how dumb that sounds, but really I could eat it 3 times a day without issue, and in the past when I was just out of college, this occasionally happened. When I began learning how to cook, making soup from scratch was one of the first things I practiced on, and where I found that substituting, switching ingredients around, and otherwise generally playing with recipes wasn’t going to kill me. The worst that could really happen was that it would be inedible (which absolutely sucks, especially when you’re on a budget, but it isn’t the total end of the world).
When I saw this recipe Angela posted the other day, I knew I had to make it immediately. It was exactly what I wanted after coming off a week-plus of eating out, and I knew it was going to be extremely easy to make with a few shortcuts and substitutions of what I already had on hand. I didn’t really change a ton of things, but I did do something that I almost never do anymore, which was make this almost entirely from canned/pre-packaged fresh or fresh-frozen ingredients — including the onions. But before you totally side-eye me, I promise you it was all in the name of simply using what I had, and it didn’t compromise the flavor in the slightest.
I subbed the fresh onion, bell pepper, and kale with frozen packages of the same from Trader Joe’s. TJ’s has frozen fire-roasted onions and bell peppers already prepped together in one bag, and the kale is also already chopped so you can just toss them in at the appropriate time. The recipe calls for butternut squash or sweet potatoes; I used pre-cubed butternut squash from Costco. I also subbed the regular diced tomatoes with fire roasted diced tomatoes. I was about 1 – 1.5 cups short of stock, but the frozen onions and peppers gave off plenty of water, more than enough to make up for what I was lacking. I also left out the cashew cream and used an immersion blender to puree the soup a bit before adding the greens and beans until it was a little bit creamy but still had sizable chunks of vegetables at the very end.
The end result was that this soup came together ridiculously fast because I only had to chop a few things. It was completely done after about 30 minutes. Sometimes chopping vegetables alone for soup can take you at least half that long, usually more, and soups need to age a bit to be really great, but even after that short amount of time it tasted fantastic. Lots of flavor and a great creamy texture – it’s like concentrated autumn in stew form. As a general rule I like to buy fresh vegetables whenever I can, but this was a good reminder that you definitely don’t always need to do that and can save yourself some effort. Not everything needs to be a project.
I love the way this turned out, and I’ll be checking out the rest of her cookbook soon!
Super Fast Fire-Roasted Vegetable Soup
Barely adapted from Angela Liddon, The Oh She Glows Cookbook
2 Tablespoons of Olive or Coconut oil
1 package Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Onions and Bell Peppers
1 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 cups of cubed butternut squash (you can buy this pre-cubed, or cube it yourself)
3 stalks of celery
One 15oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes with juice
5 cups of broth
2 bay leaves
1/4-1/2 package of Trader Joe’s frozen Kale
One 15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic powder and onion/bell pepper mix and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and released some water. Season with a little sea salt.
Add the carrots, butternut squash, celery, and diced tomatoes, broth, bay leaves, and 2 tablespoons of the 10-spice blend. Stir well to combine . Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Season with salt and black pepper and add the bay leaves. Cover the soup and simmer for 20 minutes. When it’s done, season with salt and black pepper to taste and add the kale and chickpeas.
P.S – I used the rest of the 10-spice blend on some baked chicken and it was magical.