Fall is here and gardens are full and ready for the picking. This soup was an eating clean meal/clean out the fridge session/use up lots of produce that I had around concoction and it turned out delicious. I love vegetable soups but was wanting to bump up the protein without adding the expense of meat. So a bit of lean meat, lentils, and beans really make this meal filling and hearty without being expensive. The lentil and beans almost hide in all of the goodness and you hardly even notice them. My kids ate two bowls full and then were excited to eat it again the next day for lunch. And did I mention you make it in the crock pot? Gotta love that convenience!
I used an online recipe nutrition calculator to get some stats; I’m not sure it’s 100% accurate, but its got to be pretty close. It said this recipe has a whopping 9 grams of dietary fiber, 23 grams of protein, and just under 300 calories per generous 2-cup serving. The protein and fiber combo really help you to feel full and satisfied without a lot of calories. Plus it has gobs of vitamins and minerals. I wrote some tips on making this vegan/vegetarian at the bottom of the recipe if you are interested.
Serve with your favorite whole wheat rolls and you’ve got yourself a perfect fall meal.
Everything but the Kitchen Sink Soup
Makes 6 quarts, about 12 large servings
1 pound lean ground meat, such as hamburger, elk, or turkey
2 medium or one giant onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked brown lentils
2 cups cooked black beans
2 cups frozen corn
4-6 carrots, sliced
4-6 potatoes, sliced thin
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 medium zucchini, quartered and then sliced
1 quart whole tomatoes, about 4 cups (if you don’t bottle at home, store-bought whole or diced tomatoes work well too)
1 quart broth
1 T. fresh chopped rosemary
1 T. fresh chopped thyme
2-3 T. fresh chopped basil
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 T. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
In a skillet cook the ground meat, onion, and garlic until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Add the meat mixture to a large 6-quart crock pot. Add all of the other ingredient. While you are pouring the tomatoes in, crush them with your hands before they fall into the crock pot. Place the lid on the clock pot and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hour on high. If you aren’t a crock-potter just cook the meat in a large stock pot and add everything to when the meat is cooked through. Let it simmer on the stove for 45 minutes to an hour. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with hot bread.
This makes a huge batch of soup. I froze half of it for a second easy meal and then just let it thaw in my fridge overnight when I was ready to use it.
Don’t have all those fresh herbs? Dried will work fine too, just use about half as much dried and then test for taste a few hours into cooking.
This soup is super forgiving. The tomatoes, broth, and herbs are the base but you can swap/add/remove just about anything you like to suit your tastes. It’s a great recipe to start with and make your own.
To make this vegan just saute the onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil and use a vegetable broth. Easy!
PS. The recipe for those rolls can be found HERE. They are sooo good!