Italian Harvest Soup

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I love soup and honestly could probably eat it every day (if someone else was fixing it for me)! I enjoy taking fresh ingredients and making a delicious pot of hearty soup! Sometimes it’s pureed and other times it’s just plain chunky. Family favorites include my Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup over Mashed Potatoes, Corn Chowder, Mexican Chicken Soup and Clam Chowder.

One summer day, I was soup-er hungry and had a ton of fresh seasonal vegetables on hand and no idea what to do with them. That’s when “Italian Harvest Soup” was born because hunger is always at the root of my culinary creations!

A Family Food Roots original, this recipe fits all of my soup requirements perfectly: filling, low in fat and carbohydrates, simple to prepare and flavorful! In fact, I know this may sound crazy, but I’d rather eat this soup than chocolate cake.  And yes, I’m completely serious!

Italian Harvest Soup

  • 1/2 lb ground hamburger, turkey or sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp herbs de provence
  • 1 T fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp dry)
  • 1 T fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 tsp dry)
  • 1 tsp fennel (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1/2 lb green beans, washed, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow squash, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cobs of corn, cut off the cob (or 1 cup frozen)
  • 6-8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained

Stove-top Method:
Add a little olive oil and cook meat, onion and garlic in a pot on medium heat, chopping as you go. Once meat is cooked through, stir in tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, chicken broth and spices. Add the corn, carrots, celery, green beans, zucchini and yellow squash. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Add pasta and beans. Continue to cook until pasta and veggies are soft.

Crock Pot Method:
Cook meat, garlic and onion in a frying pan; once cooked, add to crockpot. Or, place frozen meat, garlic and onion in crockpot for 1 hour and 15 minutes, chopping as you go. Once meat is cooked through, stir in tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, chicken broth and spices. Add the corn, carrots, celery, green beans, zucchini and yellow squash. Cook for 4 hours on high. Add pasta and beans; cook another 30 minutes or until pasta and veggies are soft.

Garnish with additional chopped fresh basil (in season), grated cheddar, mozzarella and/or parmesan cheese.  I also like to sprinkle a few red pepper flakes on for extra flavor. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.


Root Notes

  • I enjoy  making this soup all year long. In the winter, the squash isn’t quite as fresh, but I use it anyway! Omit whatever vegetables you don’t prefer and add the ones you do. Green bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower or even asparagus would also be good. Either substitute for one of the other veggies or  just increase your chicken broth.
  • For the meat use whatever you have on hand. You could even omit meat altogether and the soup would be just as good. Or you could even use chicken.
  • For the zucchini and yellow squash, I like quarter pieces.  Cut them in half lengthwise and then in half again and slice about 1/4″ wide.
  • You can make this recipe as soupy or stew-like as you prefer. Sometimes I add a little more chicken broth or water to make it more soup-like after it’s been in the refrigerator. 
  • If you don’t have access to fresh corn, just use a can of corn or a cup of frozen corn.
  • The cannellini beans make the soup more hearty and add protein. If your family doesn’t like beans, just omit them.
  • Make this soup on the stovetop using a large pot. On medium head, add the meat, onion and garlic. Crumble and cook until meat is no longer pink. Add all other ingredients (except the pasta) and simmer for 30 minutes. Add pasta and simmer another 20-30 minutes or until veggies are tender and pasta is cooked through.
  • I prefer to use ground turkey because it’s healthier than hamburger.  “When it comes to blood   cholesterol and heart health, you need to pick out the very leanest meats. Too much cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium in your diet can greatly affect your risk of cardiovascular disease. When you compare ground turkey with its beef counterpart, they’re relatively even. But ground turkey comes in a fat-free version that could be the best option for your heart.”
  • 1 cup of zucchini contains several nutrients including Vitamin A [40% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)],   Manganese, Vitamin C, Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin K, Folate, Copper, Phosphorus, Vitamin B6, Thiamine and small amounts of iron, calcium, zinc and several other B vitamins.  It also contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. With those kinds of benefits, let’s eat zucchini for breakfast, lunch and dinner!


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