Hearty Alphabet Soup for Grown Ups

A hearty, healthy pasta and vegetable soup reminiscent of a childhood favorite, but with more refined, grown up sensibility.

Late spring and summer in my world were a chaotic, hot mess.

We had listed our house for sale, accepted an offer and had gotten a closing date. It was a cash offer from a woman who was going through a messy divorce. Her soon to be ex husband was going to pay her a certain amount of money towards the house. Lawyers were involved. Everything was all set. Paperwork ready to go. I met her on two occasions and she seemed like a really lovely person. More importantly, she was excited to have a fresh start and truly loved our house, which really meant a great deal to me. It was the first house that my husband and I picked out together. The quirky, lovely country house with the A frame guest bedroom, fenced in yard, hollyhocks and sunflowers along the fence and the edible garden that I created were pretty special things in my world, and I felt really grateful that someone else appreciated them as much as I did. It was going to be hard to say goodbye, but it also felt my beloved hut would be loved and well cared for.

The day of the closing we were busy wandering around the house one last time, taking our keys off the key ring and getting the garage door clicker and appliance pamphlets together when husbands phone rang. It was our attorney.

Guess whose ex husband didn’t give her the money? There was a whole lot of drama, legal and otherwise, that wasn’t mine to own or deal with, but essentially we wound up being collateral damage in the midst of their ugly divorce and the sale fell through entirely, literally at the absolute the last minute.

The movers had already come.

The new house we were going to buy could fall through.

The kids were upset, confused and didn’t know what to do.

And quite frankly, neither did I.

It was a super stressful, completely bizarre situation. Uncharted territory. Now what?

We quickly put the house back on the market. And crossed our fingers, and hoped for the best, because really, what else could one do under the circumstances?

Amazingly, the people we were planning on buying the new house from offered to rent it to us until we sold our old house. Which we did just two weeks later when a new family made a solid offer in the same amount as the first would be buyer.

And this time, the stars all aligned just so and we sat in the realtors office, chit chatting and signing papers before handing over the keys and wishing this nice young couple and their family good luck in their new home.

The point of the story, is that every now and again, the universe throws you a ridiculous situation that you have to make the best of. While obviously things didn’t go according to plan, it all turned out okay in the end, and home is always where your people, both human and fur enabled are.

We are settling in to our new place, though there are still boxes, messes, unpacking, decorating and arranging to contend with. And I still have to fill you in on my makeshift, kind of half-assed garden that I sort of threw together when we got here. More on that next time! But for now, may I introduce you to my latest soup creation. It’s a childhood favorite creatively reimagined. Think the classy lovechild of Grandma’s vegetable soup and SpaghettiOs, only veganized and with more vegetables and protein.

It makes a large batch, I’d say easily 7 to 8 servings and it freezes well.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 Medium yellow or vidalia onion, chopped
  • 3 Medium carrots, diced
  • 3 Celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Zucchini, chopped
  • 1 Large Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs Tomato paste
  • 1 14.5 oz Can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz Can of chick peas or cannellini beans
  • 7 Cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 Cup of alphabet pasta or other tiny pasta
  • 2 Tbs fresh basil, cut into ribbons
  • 1 Dried Bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs Fresh parsley, diced finely
  • 1/4 Cup of Go Veggie Vegan parm cheese
  • 1 Sprig of fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 2 Sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
  • 1/8 Tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

How To:
Grab a large soup pot, and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onions. Let them cook down over medium heat until they are slightly translucent, stirring occasionally. Let them cook for bout 5-6 minutes. Then add the celery, carrots, garlic salt and pepper. Allow that to cook for about 5-6 more minutes and continue to stir it sporadically.

Next you’ll add the tomato paste, basil, parsley and bay leaf. Mix it all together well then add the crushed tomatoes and the diced potatoes. Drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the soup pot, along with the vegan parm cheese. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring the soup to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low-medium, and let it cook uncovered for 20 minutes.

Then add the chopped zucchini and alphabet pasta.

Totally optional, but if you want to add rosemary and thyme add it now, along with the red pepper flakes if you like a tiny bit of kick to your soup. Conversely, you can also add a small pinch of dried rosemary and thyme if you don’t have fresh or don’t want to deal with picking the thyme stems and rosemary leaves out of the soup later.

Let the soup cook on low-medium heat for another 20 minutes, then remove from heat and serve in a big old soup bowl. Garnish with more fresh basil and parsley if you want to be fancy. Or sprinkle a little more vegan parm on top.

Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf, no one wants to find that in their soup. Ditto for thyme and rosemary stems as well as rosemary leaves.

Note: The alphabet pasta will absorb some of the broth, so be sure to keep a little extra veggie broth in the fridge for when you reheat it for next time if the soup becomes too thick.

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