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Warm Vegetarian Tuscan soups for cold days

Vegetarian Tuscan Soups

When summer is over, and the autumn colors are starting to take over, I can’t wait to prepare my favorite cold-weather dish again: SOUP. I love soup. Ever since I was a little girl, it has been my favorite comfort food, and nothing makes me feel at home like a hot bowl of steaming soup. Soup is not only delicious and an instant pick-you-up when you are under the weather, but it is also an easy way to add more veggies to your daily diet.

These are three of my winter favorites, and although temperatures are still quite warm in Florence, I already made all three of them this month.

Warm Vegetarian Tuscan soups for cold days

Ribollita
Ribollita

Vegan dish
Preparation: 2 hours
Difficulty: easy

It may not be the prettiest looking soup, but this traditional Tuscan dish is delicious and an absolute favorite of mine. It’s actually more of a stew than a soup. The name literally means “recooked” and it’s one of the best-known dishes from the Tuscan cucina povera (the poor kitchen). In the old days, the farmers’ wives prepared a big pot of Ribollita enough to feed the whole family and it was reheated the following days. I usually prepare it in the afternoon so dinner is ready to be reheated when I come home late from the gym and choir practice the following day. If you use dried beans adjust your cooking time accordingly. I prefer a faster version with canned beans. Freshly prepared Ribollita can be stored in the freezer as well.


Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 1 onion minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 300 gr. lacinato kale (cavolo nero) chopped
  • 250 gr. savoy cabbage chopped
  • 250 gr. green Swiss chard chopped
  • 2 zucchini chopped
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 350 gr. cooked cannellini beans
  • 100 gr. rustic stale bread without crust diced
  • 200 gr. canned diced tomatoes
  • 1-liter vegetable stock
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Sauté the onion and garlic with some olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the kale, cabbage and chard and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the vegetables slink down. Add the zucchini, carrot, diced tomatoes and some black pepper. Cover the vegetables with vegetable stock and bring to a soft boil. Put the lid on and let the vegetables simmer for an hour. Don’t forget to stir every now and then.
  2. Take a couple of tablespoons cannellini beans and squash them with a fork. Add the squash, the rest of the beans and the bread to the Ribollita. Boil for another 30 minutes. Stir often to avoid burning.
  3. Serve the Ribollita hot, sprinkled with some more freshly ground black pepper and drizzled with a little high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. You can also put a little Parmigiano on top.
  4. Reheat the Ribollita on the stove and not in the microwave.

 


Pumpkin chestnut soup

Vegan dish
Preparation: 30 min + 45 minutes for the chestnuts
Difficulty: easy

Pumpkin and chestnuts are the ultimate ingredients for a delicious autumn soup. Due to the velvety taste of the pumpkin, this is a deliciously sweet and creamy soup without actually adding cream. Boil the chestnuts in advance so they have enough time to cool and you don’t burn your fingers. If you cannot find fresh herbs, dried rosemary and sage are also fine.


Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 600 gr. pumpkin diced
  • 300 gr. fresh chestnuts
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • fresh rosemary and sage
  • 1-liter vegetable stock
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • Incise and boil the chestnuts with a sprig of rosemary and a teaspoon of salt for 40 minutes. Let the chestnuts cool off, then peel and chop. Set a couple of tablespoons full aside to add later as decoration.
  • Sauté the shallot and garlic with some olive oil and 3 sage leaves in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Cover the vegetables with vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Put the lid on and let the pumpkin simmer for 20 minutes until it’s soft. Stir occasionally.
  • Take the stockpot of the stove and let the pumpkin cool down for a couple of minutes. Add the chestnuts and puree the vegetables using an immersion blender.
  • Put the stockpot back on the stove and reheat.
  • Serve the soup in a bowl decorated with the chopped chestnuts you put aside.

 

Broccoli Zucchini Soup

Broccoli Zucchini Soup

Vegan dish
Preparation: 30 min
Difficulty: easy

It doesn’t get any greener than broccoli and zucchini together in a bowl, with vegan cream and crispy walnuts. This soup is so easy to make and it only takes half an hour from the moment you start chopping. If I have some rustic bread left over I serve it toasted with the soup along with a tasty hummus spread. This broccoli zucchini soup is very light, so it also makes a tasty spring dish. By using vegan cream instead of heavy cream you cut down the calories quite a bit so you can enjoy this green soup guild free.

Broccoli Zucchini Soup
Ingredients for 4 servings

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 large zucchini (or 6-8 small zucchini) diced (set a cup of finely chopped zucchini apart to add to the soup before serving)
  • 500 gr. broccoli cut in small pieces
  • 1-liter vegetable stock
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons pesto
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 100 ml. low-fat vegan soy cream (I use Alpro Cuisine Soya)
  • 10 chopped walnuts
  1. Sauté the onion and garlic with some olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and broccoli and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Cover the vegetables with vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Put the lid on and let the vegetables simmer for 10 minutes until they are soft.
  2. Take the stockpot of the stove and let the vegetables cool down for a couple of minutes. Puree using an immersion blender.
  3. Put the stockpot back on the stove and bring to a simmering boil. Add the finely chopped zucchini, black pepper, pesto and curry powder and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat source and add the cream. Serve the soup in a bowl putting the chopped walnuts on top and decorating with another tablespoon full of cream.
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