Soup’s On! Easy Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Soup

Mmmm, mmm, good! I don’t know about you, but a bowl of soup and some good bread always says “come hither” to me.

Feeling a little pressed for time lately? I know I feel this way a lot, and when I do, it’s hard to face cooking a big meal at night. I try to make some foods on the weekend that will carry us through a few hectic weekdays. But sometimes the weekends are hectic, too, and you find yourself facing that ever challenging dinner question: What to make?

This week, it was veggies to the rescue! Roasting vegetables is truly a wonderful way to enjoy them, and an easy way to cook them. It amplifies their natural flavor and caramelizes all the sugars, which makes them even tastier than most other simple preparations. Once roasted, you can eat them “as is,” add them to eggs to make a frittata, use them as a side dish to your favorite meat, toss them with some pasta or rice for a vegetarian main dish, or put them on top of salad greens with a light vinaigrette.

Or, as I decided to do the other night, you can make them into an easy, delicious and immensely satisfying vegetable soup, which will be all the better because of the depth of flavor from the roasting. Soup is definitely my go-to meal in the cooler months and I never get tired of it. And with a roasted veggie soup, there are so many vegetables to choose from to make this soup your own. You can mix and match as you please, but as a very general starting point, most root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnips, beets, etc. play well together, and the lighter, vine-ripened vegetables like tomatoes, squashes, peppers and eggplant are good partners.

For this soup—a great way to use up vegetables by the way—I chose some vine-ripened veggies which are still available locally grown, and added some Mediterranean flavors. I already had two slicing tomatoes left over from a CSA box, and some cherry tomatoes and lots of fresh herbs from my garden. I found yellow summer squash, zucchini and sweet bell peppers in the market, and I always have garlic and onions on hand. All I had to do was a tiny bit of prep and then throw the lot into a roasting pan, sprinkle on some olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary, and roast the veg in the oven. When the veggies were ready, I transferred the contents of my pan into a stock pot, added some chicken broth, water, fresh herbs and seasoning, and cooked that for a little while until the flavors infused the broth. Then out came the stick blender and I pureed the whole thing in the pot to blend all that goodness together, and hurrah! I had an amazing, delicious soup, filled with roasted flavor and savory goodness. A soup I think even a kid could love, especially because they need never know what veggies are actually in it!

Easy, yes? And it made enough to have for several nights, to boot. Perfection.

In fact this simple, healthy and quite low calorie soup was so good, it’s got me thinking about making more easy roasted veggie soups and dishes to share with you this fall, so stay tuned…this may quickly become a series!

If you like the idea of roasting vegetables and soup, I hope you’ll give this one a try, or maybe a version with your own favorite veggie mix. After all, I haven’t even mentioned roasted broccoli or cauliflower, but that may be next up! For yet another easy roasted soup, check out my Asian-Inspired Butternut Squash Soup, too. Add some crusty bread or corn muffins and a little salad, and dinner is…on!

I’d like to take a moment to give a little shout out to blog friend Tanya of Chica Andaluza, whose last two posts provided some inspiration for this post (I love when that happens), turning my thoughts to roasting the veggies to make this soup. And on another note, my Facebook page is soooo lonely out there…it’s kind of sad. If you haven’t yet, please join me there for more shared food, photos, tidbits and good links by clicking this link or the one on the home page of this blog and “like” me!

Easy Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Soup
Makes 8 servings

2 medium tomatoes, core removed and cut into large chunks
2 cups cherry tomatoes, or 1 pint
3 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 medium to large zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 large sweet onions, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large red bell pepper and 1 large orange bell pepper (or two sweet bell peppers)
10 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and left whole
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil, preferable extra virgin
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1 Tablespoon dried, crumbled)
6 cups low sodium chicken broth (or homemade)
2 1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried and crumbled)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon, dried and crumbled)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and more to taste if needed when the soup is finished.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place all of the prepared vegetables (tomatoes, through peppers) and the garlic into either a deep non-stick roasting pan or a cookie sheet with sides that has been covered in aluminum foil. Pour the olive oil over the vegetables and toss to coat. Add 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the rosemary to the vegetables and toss again. Roast the vegetables in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until the cherry tomatoes have burst and the veggies are tender and just beginning to color. Remove from the oven.

Pour the vegetables and their juices into a large stock or soup pot. Add the chicken broth, water, basil, oregano, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and bring to a simmer over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and puree the soup carefully in the pot with a stick blender, or in batches in a regular blender, returning the soup to the pot once pureed. Place the soup back on the heat just long enough to heat it through, and taste for seasonings. Serve with crusty bread.

The soup is such a beautiful color from all the veggies and I love the little flecks of herbs and pepper.

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Bourbon-Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

A match made in heaven...Bourbon-Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. Yes indeed, I'm gonna make these two together again!

This week we’ve had quite a warm spell and my plans to make either my recipes for either split-pea soup or chicken noodle soup—soup being one of my favorite meals this time of year—went by the wayside when the temps went up to the mid-60’s and then 70 degrees. Really? In January? This time last year most folks here were racing for the grocery store like the non-snow savvy southerners that we are, trying to out-buy each other in the milk, bread, salt and chili-making ingredient categories, and battening down our hatches for what turned out to be a significant snow storm that shut Atlanta down for several days….not that it actually takes snow to do that, as you already know if you live here!

Continue reading

E.K.’s Pork with Parsley-Shallot Sauce

There's Ellie posing with some of the last fresh herbs from my garden: parsley, sage and rosemary.

I’m determined to keep the promise I made to myself to cook healthy and delicious things in between the parties, holiday foods and gift making. Here’s a comforting recipe that falls along those lines and has lots of flavor from the use of garlic and plenty of fresh herbs in the form of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. (The song is stuck in your head now, isn’t it?) Continue reading

Taters 101, 2, 3

Tiny red potatoes and rosemary

All dressed up and ready for the oven.

Roasted and ready to eat!

Who doesn’t love a good ‘tater? Baked. Boiled. Smashed. Grilled. Fried. Sauteed. Salad-i-fied. Totted. Roasted.

‘Tis the season for new potatoes and fingerlings, and one of my favorite and quickest ways to prepare them is roasted. With a little scrub, a few quick cuts, a little olive oil, salt, pepper and a few fresh herbs you may have on hand, you can eat restaurant-style potatoes any day of the week. And by changing your herbs, changing your cut, adding a little garlic powder, paprika or cayenne, a little onion and bell pepper—or combos of the above—you can have a completely different side dish customized for whatever meal you’re making.

Last night we had these rosemary roasted potatoes as a side to souvlaki and tzatziki. I usually make a frittata with any leftover potatoes, if I have them—adding some veggies, cheese and sometimes a little ham to the mix—because potatoes and eggs are so good together. Here’s a basic technique for roasted potatoes with variations, and an easy way to “bake” potatoes on the grill. Also try roasting or grilling potatoes for your next vinaigrette-based potato salad.

What’s your favorite easy spud preparation? Do tell…

Related Links:  Souvlaki, Tzatziki