A fragrant tomato broth with garlic, tomato paste and smoked paprika, to use as a jumping off point for your own creations. See Options below.
- 1 tablespoon oil, or ghee
- 1 large onion- diced
- 6–8 garlic cloves- thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper (or carrot or celery) – small diced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
- 4 cups broth (veggie, chicken)
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or rosemary, or an Italian herb blend)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar, honey, agave, or maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne or chipotle powder, more to taste
- ¼ cup fresh herbs: basil, Italian parsley, cilantro
Optional Soup Additions:
Italian “Meatball” and Spinach Soup
- 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (1 can beans, drained )
- 1 cup dry pasta Iike penne
- 6 ounces chopped fresh spinach (or other wilting greens)
- 1 lb little meatballs (see notes) or store-bought vegan meatballs (I used Gardein Classic Meatless Meatballs- in the freezer section)
- garnish with ¼ cup chopped basil
- Instead of meatballs you can add browned Italian Sausage or cooked chicken breast or replace with other veggies like- roasted cauliflower, zucchini, fire roasted tomatoes (I prefer canned tomatoes in winter)
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, and sauté for two minutes. Add bell pepper and/or other veggies, lower heat to medium and sauté 5-7 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, sauté 2 more minutes until fragrant. Add the fennel, smoked paprika and tomato paste, turn the heat up and and “fry” for one-two more minutes, for extra depth of flavor.
- Add the water and broth. Stir. Increase heat to high. Add dried herbs, salt, vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil and taste.Now you will have a flavorful rich broth to use as a base to add what ever you like.
NOTES: Remember uncooked pasta and beans will double or triple in size, so add moderately.
Remember to think and be sensible about cooking times for each ingredient you add.
Also, if you are cooking the broth for longer periods of time, uncovered, remember it will reduce, intensifying the flavor and salt, so you may need to add more water.
Adding pre-cooked pasta to your individual bowls, rather than dry pasta to the pot of soup itself, then pouring the soup over top, will keep the pasta from swelling too much, especially if you are planning to save the leftovers (but if going for one-pot and fast, it’s fine to add it to the broth).
If adding meat –you can make mini meatballs quickly and easily to drop into the simmering broth. Simply season 1 pound ground meat with diced onion, salt, pepper, granulated garlic and dried herbs and form tiny meat balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Place them on a plate in the fridge until the broth is ready, them drop them in soup and simmer until they float.
Alternatively, you can brown slices of Italian sausage, chorizo or cooked chicken breast and add this to the simmering soup. There are lots of vegan meat substitutes out there too, like the vegan meatballs in the photos.