Sunday, May 22, 2016

Vegetarian/Vegan Italian Wedding Soup

Last week I realized I hadn't had Italian Wedding Soup since I stopped eating meat.  All the recipes I found used "vegan meatballs" and I didn't want that.  My favorite non-vegetarian version of this soup had chick pea sized meatballs and that got me thinking: WHY DON'T  I USE CHICK PEAS IN PLACE OF MEATBALLS?!?!?!?!  Here is what I came up with.  It took under an hour from start to finish.  The end result is a hearty vegetable soup that, with a salad and garlic bread, makes a satisfying meal.
extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cup finely diced onion
3 cloves garlic, two minced
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced basil
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
8 cups vegetable stock
1 cup uncooked ditalini or orzo pasta
1.5 cans chick peas, drained and rinsed until water runs clear *
1 8 oz package of spinach +
salt and pepper

  1.  Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the onion and  the two minced garlic cloves and cook about 5 minutes.  
  2. Add the carrot and celery and cook for 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the oregano and basil and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the stock and parsley and bring to boil and reduce heat.
  4. Add pasta and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the chick peas and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. In a saute pan with high heat add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the last garlic clove.  After clove starts to color, about 3-4 minutes, add all the spinach and cover.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Turn heat off and using tongs stir the spinach.  Cover and let sit off heat for another 2 minutes.
  6. Remove garlic clove from spinach and add the spinach to the soup.  Simmer for another 5 minutes and remove from heat.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve garnished with grated Parmesan or Percorino cheese. If you don't add cheese this is a vegan recipe.

* This may seem annoying, but 1 can was not enough and 2 cans seemed like too many.  Use your left overs on a salad or something.  Or roast them.  Or just put 2 full cans in the soup.  It's up to you, I don't care. 

+ You could also use a pack of frozen chopped spinach.  Thaw it and then drain the water.  Skip step 5 and just add the thawed spinach to pot in step 6.

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