Italian-Vibe Vegetable Soup (The Happy Maker)

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Hi all! Happy Sunday.

I’m currently chilling in my Nairobi hotel room, which in and of itself is a trip to write out. The past week has been life-changing for me (much more on that to come in the near future), and every day is equally challenging, heartbreaking, uplighting, and inspiring. I’ve almost immediately fallen in love with this beautiful country and the people in it.

Bundled up in a hoodie and rocking my October in Canada vibes, I’m still surprised with how cool it is here. The elevation in Nairobi is quite high, keeping the temperature much milder (compared to the blisteringly hot sun we just left behind in beautiful Kilifi County). So, that said, I feel like a cold weather-ish recipe is in order. Much more on my continuing trek through East Africa in the coming weeks.

Now, it’s recipe time.

If it’s cold where you are at the moment, or you just love a warm bowl of comfort, this recipe is your jam, and Great Gatsby, it’s a knockout! It’s magic. Being completely honest, this warm bowl of happy was kind of a shoo-in from the get go.  Any time hot comforting soup and pasta decide to hang you know you’re in for something truly spectacular. And best of all, it’s packed with veggie goodness and healthy to boot.

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Italian-vibes Vegetable Soup 

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 medium onions, diced

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

4 celery stalks, diced

1 tablespoon basil stalks, finely diced

½ teaspoon dried oregano

3 zucchinis, halved and sliced into half-moons

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 X 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 X 19-ounce can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed

1 bay leaf

8 cups vegetable stock

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 cups Swiss chard leaves

3 cups pasta shells

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

¼ cup fresh basil leaves

Heat a large heavy-bottomed stockpot (or Dutch oven) over medium-low heat and pour in the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the garlic, onions, carrots, celery, basil, and oregano. Slowly and gently cook the vegetables, stirring every few minutes, until they begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and cook 5 minutes longer.

Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, beans, bay leaf, and stock to the pot, and season with sea salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow the soup to get it’s simmer on for 20 minutes.

After the soup has been simmering for 20, stir in the pasta shells and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the Swiss chard, and cook 3 to 4 minutes longer, until the pasta is cooked through.

Turn off the heat and stir in the maple syrup, parmesan cheese, and basil leaves. Give the soup a quick taste to check the seasoning and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

 

 

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