Let’s face it. Despite the best planning and organization, sometimes the freezer can be (gasp) completely empty of the most basic of traditional cooking items: homemade bone broth, also sometimes referred to as stock.
It happens to me, and I’m sure it has happened to you too!
And, true to Murphy’s Law for Traditional Cooks, the very same day you are out of homemade stock, the family will clamor for soup for dinner.
Am I right people?
When this scenario happens at your house, be sure to skip the store bought stock in cans or tetrapaks (vegetable or otherwise), because these contain factory synthesized MSG disguised under one of up to 50 or so aliases. MSG is a known neurotoxin that zaps the hypothalamus and triggers unstable emotions and/or headaches in many people. Note that the naturally occurring glutamate that forms in small amounts in homemade stock is fine and not a problem for most people.
Instead, refer to this recipe for Italian vegetable soup below which is a completely stock-less soup that you can whip together in a hurry with plenty of leftovers to freeze for quick dinners on the go in the days and weeks to come.
The secret to this Italian vegetable soup recipe is miso, a traditional, fermented soybean paste from Japan that is delicious and flavorful when used as a soup base.
Worried that miso is made from soybeans? Don’t be. Fermented soy in small amounts such as what would be consumed in this recipe on occasion and in line with the practice of healthy traditional cultures is no cause for concern. It is the modern, unfermented soy loaded with phytic acid and other enzyme inhibitors that is hidden in nearly all processed foods as a cheap, unhealthy filler food that is the cause for concern.
The trick to using miso is to be sure to remove the soup from the heat and mix in the miso on the counter to preserve all the wonderful enzymes, probiotics and nutrient co-factors present in this ancient traditional fermented food. You never want to boil or cook miso!
This Italian vegetable soup recipe is courtesy of my friend, April Renee, who was a featured speaker at Wise Traditions 2011 in Dallas and has spoken for my Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter here in Tampa twice in the past.
Italian Vegetable Soup
Makes 7-8 quarts
* Please note, as much as possible, use organic and/or heirloom vegetables for the best tasting and most nutritious Italian vegetable soup possible.
1 cup dried beans (or 2 cups already soaked beans)
3 quarts filtered water
1 cup cubed Daikon radish
1 small head of cabbage, sliced thinly
5 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 inch
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 large zucchini, sliced
2-3 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup brown rice (optional)
1-3 bay leaves
1 16-oz package brown rice miso
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
Place the beans in a large bowl and add water to cover by one inch. Mix in a pinch of baking soda. Soak overnight on the kitchen counter. In the morning or up to 24 hours later, drain and rinse the beans. Don’t know why beans should be soaked? Click here.
If you already have 2 cups of previously soaked beans on hand in the freezer, skip the overnight step above and start with the step below.
Add the 3 quarts filtered water and soaked beans to soup kettle and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for one hour.
Add the radish, cabbage and carrots. Allow to simmer another 30 minutes.
Add olive oil and onions to a large skillet and gently saute until the onions are wilted. Add the celery, zucchini, garlic and tomatoes. Simmer 20 minutes and then add the parsley. Add the sauted mixture to the bean mixture along with the optional brown rice. Add seasonings. Cook until the rice is tender.
Remove soup kettle from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Mix in the package of miso and gently stir until well blended.
* For those who prefer smooth textures, this soup is fabulous thoroughly blended up too. Just use a stick blender and blend right in the pot after mixing in the miso.
Serve the Italian vegetable soup immediately and refrigerate any leftovers after it has cooled to room temperature.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist