Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Vegetarian Zuppe Toscana

If you read many food blogs, you'll see lots of 2011 "best of" and "top 10" posts... not here! While 2011 was a wonderful year for me personally, it was very quiet on the blog front because of pregnancy + newborn. This year, I plan to make blogging a top priority as I have been cooking up some delicious dishes and want to share them with you!  

On New Years Day, I planned to make Black Eye Peas, Collared Greens and Cornbread for dinner. I put the peas in the crockpot with vegetable stock, garlic and onions and let it cook while we went to church and the beach. Yes, we went to the beach on January 1! It was a gorgeous day and I knew we'd be watching football all afternoon. I told JJ it was time we take Violet to the beach and enjoy the day before planting ourselves in front of the TV. No need to be jealous, friends in the north, it's now in the 40-50's here...

After we got home from the beach, we both grabbed a bowl of peas from the crock pot. And then another, and another. And soon enough, 1/3 of our dinner was consumed at lunch time. So I had to go to plan B. 

Zuppe Toscana is one of my favorites, but I never thought to make a vegetarian version. It's usually made with sausage, so I used the flavors of sausage for the broth (as I did with this soup), and lentils for meaty part of the soup. I also have seen cream or milk in Zuppe Toscana, but I found the starch from the potatoes made the broth thick enough that it was unnecessary. This soup was just as delicious as it's meaty counterpart, and much healthier. 

Happy New Year!

Vegetarian Zuppe Toscana
Veggie by Season Original

2 tbsp. EVOO
1 yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1/4 c. sherry
4 c. vegetable stock (I love these stock cubes)
4 small/medium russet potatoes, sliced in 1/4" rounds
1 1/2 c. brown lentils
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground fennel seed
1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 c. kale leaves, chopped
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat a dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat.
Add EVOO, onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper and saute' for 5 minutes.
Add sherry, scrape bits off the pan.
Add stock, potatoes, lentils, oregano, fennel, sage and red pepper flakes.
Bring to a simmer, then turn to low and cover.
Simmer for 30 minutes, until potatoes and lentils are tender.
Add kale to the top, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Kale should be wilted, carefully mix into the soup - some potatoes will break, but try to keep them as in tact as possible. 
Taste, adjust seasonings, and be sure lentils are tender.
Serve with grated parmesan.


Norma Chang said...

This soup sounds delicious and great for a cold January day. Thanks for sharing.

Joanne said...

yay for more blogging in 2012! I've missed you!

This soup sounds delicious. Definite Italian comfort food, which I always like!