I am one of those people who gets super pumped with every season changing. I love the sunshine in the summer, the color wheel of fall, the peacefulness of a winter snow and the regeneration that comes along with spring. I’d say if I had to pick favorites, it would be fall and spring… especially this spring.
Is it just me or does everything seem greener and more alive? I’m not sure if it is because we’ve all been essentially grounded for the past year or if this is just the best vernal equinox ever!
I am anxious to get my vegetable garden started and deciding my menus by what is growing in my yard. I keep thinking about the fresh green beans, huge zucchini and colorful tomatoes. I’m anxious to pick the vegetables and feel the sun’s warmth. It truly is a magical time but alas I live in the Midwest, and it is still a little early in the season to experience a garden’s bounty.
So, this past week my spring fever was in overload when I went grocery shopping. With the thoughts of my future garden as my muse, I bought the motherlode of vegetables. None of them could compare to what I can gather locally, but they reminded me of a soup recipe from Chef Hugh Acheson in Food and Wine Magazine a couple of years ago which allowed for some flexibility in the ingredients.
I’ve taken quite a few soup classes at The Chopping Block so my soup improv confidence is strong and what came out of this was a great start to spring soup.
10 Vegetable Soup
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Prep time: 45 minutes, depending on your knife skills since there are a lot of vegetables to cut
Cook time: 45 minutes
1 small spring zucchini (not pictured), quarter size pieces
1/4 pound green beans, cut or broken into 4-5 pieces each
1 leek, thinly sliced and rinsed thoroughly
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
21 grape tomatoes (Random number that made sense at the time I made the soup), sliced in half
10 petite carrots (not to be confused with baby carrots), cut into little circles
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 cup baby spinach, torn into smaller pieces
1 cup arugula, torn into smaller pieces
1/2 - 1 tsp of Sarah Tuscan Sea Salt (Available at The Chopping Block for curb-side or private shopping options)
8 cups of vegetable broth (I like my soup brothy)
1/2 cup cooked orzo (or whatever small pasta you want to use up)
Prepared pesto for garnish (trust me you don’t want to skip this part)
Fresh ground pepper
1. Before you start to cut your vegetables, take a moment to think of how they will all look on your spoon. You don’t want to mince them but you also don’t want giant chunks so you only get one vegetable in each spoonful. There is no “right” way, it is all about your preference.
2. I took the first five ingredients (zucchini, green beans, asparagus, tomatoes and leek) and tossed them in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of Sarah’s sea salt.
3. Roast in 400-degree oven on a parchment prepared baking sheet for about 15-20 minutes. You want them tender but not mushy or too brown.
4. While that group of vegetables is cooking, put a giant swirl olive oil in a 5-quart Dutch Oven over medium/low heat.
5. Sauté the carrots, onion and celery for about 4-5 minutes. You don’t want browning, you are essentially “sweating” them to pull out some flavor.
6. Season with a little salt and pepper.
7. Add the broth and roasted vegetables.
8. Bring to a simmer and cook another 10-15 minutes to marry the flavors.
9. At the very end, add in the spinach and arugula. Give them a stir to incorporate them into the soup.
10. To serve, put heaping tablespoon of the cooked orzo on the bottom of the bowl, top with soup and add a dollop of pesto. (I used both a basil pesto and a sundried tomato pesto.).
And you can’t think of spring vegetables without adding some peas, so I made a bright smashed pea toast to serve on the side.
Smashed Pea Toast
10 ounces of fresh peas
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
3 sprigs of fresh mint
2 green onions
Toasted bread (I simply toasted some hearty grain bread)
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat a small pot of water to boiling.
2. Add the peas and cook them for 5-7 minutes.
3. Drain and cook in an ice bath. (This keeps that bright green color.)
4. Put the peas, lemon juice, zest, mint leaves and green onions into a food processor.
5. Pulse until you get desired consistency. Taste for seasoning. (I added a smidge of salt.)
6. Rub your toast with the garlic clove and season with a sprinkle of salt. (The garlic and salt add another layer seasoning.)
7. Spread with smashed peas and serve with your soup.
So whether you have Spring fever or want to be a “soup”er star, The Chopping Block has an array of great classes to suit your mood like the following upcoming classes:
- Lincoln Square Date Night: Spring Feast Demo Friday, April 16 6:30pm
- Lincoln Square Hands On Double Date Paris in Spring Friday, April 30 6:30pm
- Lincoln Square Perfect Pair Duo: Soup and Bread Demo Workshop Sunday, May 2 11am
- Virtual Building Blocks: Soups Saturday, May 15 10am CST