It’s been a wet and chilly spring in Boston and this hearty vegetable soup hits the spot. This can be a “clean out your refrigerator” soup, using whatever veggies you have on hand. I love adding a small hunk of parmesan rind to my soups. It adds a subtle umami flavor to a dish. Umami, a savory taste that means “delicious” in Japanese, is considered the fifth taste, along with sweet, salty, bitter and sour flavors. Some foods where umami occurs naturally are meat, fish, mushrooms, anchovies, and certain cheeses.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1 medium zucchini or summer squash, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 32 ounces chicken or vegetable stock (I use the More Than Gourmet Culinary Stock or Swanson low-sodium broth)
- 1 1/4 piece of Parmesan cheese rind
- 1 (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes (I use the Pomi brand)
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups baby spinach or baby kale leaves
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Heat the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, carrot, zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally until soft and tender, about 7-9 minutes.
Add the broth, cheese rind and tomatoes with the juice and bring to a boil. Add the beans, greens and basil and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Serve the soup topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serves 6.