Well, the good news is the sun is shining in Juneau! It’s been a long and wet spring, so summer solstice arriving with sunshine was pretty much the best thing ever. Last night I had no plan for dinner. I knew I wanted to mow the lawn and putter a bit in my garden when I walked in the door from work around 6pm. So I made roasted vegetable soup, one of my favorite, easy, low stress meals that tastes good and always leaves enough for lunch the next day. I have a several variations of this soup. This is the most basic and simplest version.
Roasted Veggie Soup
a mix of whatever veggies you have in the fridge
15oz can Cannellini beans
sea salt or kosher salt
crushed red pepper
fresh thyme (if you have it, don’t worry about if you don’t)
dry white wine if you have it (again, no biggie if you don’t)
For our soup last night, I chopped up three bell peppers (yellow, orange and red), two zucchini, half a red onion, three cloves garlic (just cut these in half), and four medium sized tomatoes (I just sliced the bottoms of these so they didn’t explode). I tossed all of this in a roasting pan with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. I added a dash each of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper (you decide how much you want depending on the amount of heat you like). I used the thyme because it’s what I have growing now, but if I didn’t have this in a pot on my porch, I would not have gone out and purchased any. The point of this meal is to use what you have. If you have fresh basil, throw some of that in (mine is still too tiny!). Whatever you like. Anyway, I put the whole thing in the oven to roast at 400 degrees.
While roasting, you can mow your lawn, water the garden, gather flowers, and enjoy the sunshine! Come inside every now and then to stir it around. When the veggies seemed good and roasted, and Bret and I were both getting hungry from chores, I took them out, tossed them in a pot on the stove top, drizzled with more olive oil, and added about four cups of water and a can of Cannellini beans. The beans add a nice texture and protein. You can also mix in veggie or chicken bullion if you want, but I didn’t have that, so I just used water. I blended it all together with an emulsion blender (referred to in our house as a “stick” blender), leaving plenty of texture (it doesn’t need to be super smooth, this is an easy rustic soup). I added a few bay leaves and some white wine and let it cook for about 20-30 minutes on medium heat. I seasoned with more salt and pepper before serving. Sometimes I add a couple tablespoons of butter at the end which is delicious. We ate with good bread, toasted and buttered while sitting at the table in our freshly mowed yard.
A couple things to note about this soup; if you’d like, you can add a dollop of plain yogurt or some heavy cream when serving. Whatever you do, don’t stress out about this dish. Roasting vegetables brings out so much flavor. Try different veggies, figure out what you like best and keep those veggies on your shopping list, for just these kinds of easy dinners! As I said, I make many variations of this soup, so I am sure there will be more to come. Happy Solstice! May your summer be filled with good food, good friends and good cheer! Have a lovely weekend!
Lilacs and Poppies. Gathered from the garden while the veggies roasted.