Spicy Vegetable Soup
Honestly, I can hardly take credit for this recipe. Someone at Price Chopper is the real genius behind this vegetable soup that transcends any veggie soup I have ever had. It's a little spicy and full of chunky veggie goodness. I am really not a vegetable soup person (usually) but this might have changed my mind.
So when you are pregnant (oh, by the way - I am pregnant), you tend to get tired easily doing the simplest daily tasks. You can imagine, being creative is hard to do when your mind is in a constant fog. Hence, my lack of posts lately! Because of this mind fog/fatigue mode I have been in, I have been getting all of the pre-made easy stuff. Well I was starting to feel better and wanted to meet my normal ambition half-way. At Price Chopper (this one specifically), they tend to have some grab bags/trays of chopped veggies/meats/herbs that are basically ready for you to pop in the oven or onto a skillet, and wah-lah! Dinner! I saw one on Thursday that caught my eye. It simply said "Soup Mix".
It was a big bag of what looked like things I would like, so I thought, "I can easily put this in the slow cooker and fancy it up a bit". I didn't even look at what was in it (remember, brain fog), but it seemed healthier and a little more ambitious than a frozen pizza (again).
Today started as a stormy and rainy kind of day, unlike the typical midwest heat we have been having, so the perfect day to try this out! Inside of the bag were red-skin potatoes, cabbage, Roma tomatoes, carrots, white onions, jalapeño peppers, fresh cilantro, chayote, fresh garlic, and zucchini.
Chayote is the only vegetable I had not had! Technically, it is a fruit (like tomatoes), but you would not want to just bit into it like an apple or strawberry. It is a green bumpy-pear shaped squash that fits in your hand. It has a crunch and texture similar to squash, but just a bit sweeter crisper flavor. It actually has a ton of health benefits! Chayote is heart healthy, has tons of antioxidants and promotes healthy blood glucose levels, just to name a few. I think I will be including it in more dishes!
Lately, the baby has really been craving potatoes, so I decided to throw a few more Yukon golden potatoes in the mix. I chopped all of the goodies up and threw them in the slow cooker. I added water up to the level of the top of the vegetables. I added 2 heaping teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon (chicken). I sprinkled in some salt, pepper, and some herbs de Provence from my spice rack.
Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs considered typical of the Provence region of southeast France. These blends often contain savory, basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, fennel and sometimes oregano, mint, parsley and tarragon. Lavender leaves are also included in products in the North American market. The herb mixture is typically used with grilled foods and stews.
I started the slow cooker at 9AM on low until 3PM. The vegetables were soft enough that the soup could be eaten (and I did sample some) but I turned it down to warm to wait for my husband to get home. I added a dash of cream to the pot to cool off the spicy flavor of the broth and it made it even better than before!
Spicy Vegetable Soup
1 zucchini squash
2 Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 white onion
2 red-skinned potatoes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 chayote squash
1 ear sweet corn, cut from the cob
1 tbsp chopped or minced garlic
4 Roma tomatoes
2 cups chopped cabbage (or about 1/3 of a head of cabbage)
2 heaping tsp Better than Bouillon (chicken or vegetable flavor)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 1/2 tsp herbs de Provence blend
Optional: 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Chop all vegetables into bite size pieces (onions, cilantro and garlic into smaller pieces, corn left in kernels) and add to unplugged 6-qt slow cooker.
Add spices and Better than Bouillon.
Fill the slow cooker with warm water until you start to see it amongst the top of the vegetables.
Turn the slow cooker on low for about 6 hours. Check the vegetables to see if they are soft enough for your liking. (I turned my slow cooker on warm after the 6 hours, and ate the soup about 1.5 hours later and it was still great!)
Optional: add heavy cream to warm soup and stir until incorporated.
Enjoy with some crusty baked bread or sour dough!
Not feeling spicy? That's ok! Maybe leave out the jalapeños or sub them for a chopped bell pepper or celery.
Make it completely vegan by leaving out the cream, and using a vegetable soup base!
Serve it with some crusty bakery bread or homemade sour dough.
No chayote squash in the store? Sub summer squash or add more zucchini!
Want to have the soup a little faster? Cook in a stock pot on the stove until desired texture of vegetables. Leave the lid on except when stirring. Try on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes.
Bag the left-over soup into freezer bags and keep for a later date! Should be good in the freezer for 6 months or so. Just thaw or reheat by adding it to a slow cooker on low until heated through!