Italian Vegetable Soup

This delicious soup will warm your family up all winter long. Let the kids pick out the small pasta (macaroni, pastina, orzo, acini de pepe) and add the ingredients to the pot. Yields 12 1-cup servings

 1 pound lean ground meat (15% fat) (turkey, chicken or beef)
 1 cup diced onion
 1⁄2 cup sliced celery
 1 cup diced carrots
 1 1⁄2 cups sliced or chopped cabbage
 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans drained and rinsed
 2 cans (15 ounces each diced tomatoes
 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
 1 can (15 ounces) cut green beans, drained and rinsed
 1 cup whole kernel corn, frozen or canned and drained
 2 cups water
 1 cup low sodium chicken or beef stock
 4 garlic cloves, crushed
 1 teaspoon dried parsley
 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
 1⁄2 teaspoon dried basil
 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
 1⁄2 cup small pasta (optional)

In a skillet over medium-high heat (350 degrees in an electric skillet), cook the ground meat until browned, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain any fat. Add to soup pan.
In the same skillet, saute the onion, celery, and carrots until limp but not brown. Add to soup pan.
Add all the remaining ingredients to soup pan.
Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer about 30 minutes.

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