I worked outside today in my gardens cleaning out dried vines as well as plants that had been zapped by the two mornings of frost we had last week. Considering we are into October already, the weather is still comfortable but just chilly enough for a hot bowl of soup. I didn't want to spend an excessive amount of time in the kitchen because I wanted to return to my fall garden cleanup, so I tried a "Quick Spinach-Chickpea Soup" from a Clean Eating Magazine's e-newsletter. It went together quickly and was very flavorful after I added my "dried herb foursome". I frequently add basil, thyme, oregano, and rosemary to soups if I find the recipe needs a flavor boost. For a large pot, I add one generous teaspoon of each of the four herbs. For 1/2 pot, I add 1/2 generous teaspoon of each of the four herbs. In addition, there are two staples I keep in my pantry to add a boost of flavor to soups.
Better Than Bouillon, which is made from 10 ingredients: chicken meat and natural juices, salt, cane sugar, maltodextrin, natural flavor, dried onion, potato starch, dried garlic, tumeric, and spice extractives can be used in place of Wyler's Chicken Bouillon which contains 32 ingredients: salt, sugar, chicken, potassium chloride, corn syrup solids, corn gluten hydrolyzed, onion powder, maltodextrin, chicken fat, monosodium glutamate, corn starch modified, yeast extract autolyzed, garlic powder, natural flavors, chicken broth, taurine, tumeric, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, dextrin, citric acid, caramel color, hydrolyzed soy protein, dehydrated parsley flakes, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, soy sauce powder (wheat fermented), soy, spices, BHA, BHT, propyl gallate (preservative). 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon = 1 Wyler's Chicken Bouillon Cube. Edward & Sons Garden Veggie Cubes is wonderful in combination with Better Than Bouillon or by itself as a vegetarian option.
Spinach-Chickpea Soup Serves 4.
This is a nutritious soup that can be prepared in 10-15 minutes… practically as fast as you can open a store-bought can of soup.
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or 4 c water + 1 Edward & Sons Garden Veggie Bouillon Cube + 1 tbsp Organic Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base)
1 (14.5 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can low-sodium chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), rinsed well (Other beans work equally well. One time I had 1/2 can leftover vegetarian baked beans that I tossed in. Nice.)
6 oz spinach leaves (about 6 packed cups), washed (I used 6 oz frozen chopped spinach.)
1/2 tsp salt (I omitted.)
1/4 tsp pepper
In addition, I added a generous ½ tsp each: dried basil, thyme, oregano, and rosemary.
¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or parmesan cheese, grated
In a large pot over medium heat, warm oil for 30 seconds to a minute until sizzling. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and light golden, about 5 minutes; then add garlic, cooking for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Next, add vegetable broth and tomatoes, bringing to a boil; followed by chickpeas and spinach leaves. Sir until spinach is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add herbs then season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle cheese on top of soup in serving bowls.