I got a huge bunch of organic rainbow chard from the grocery store today. Chard is quite possibly the most nutritious vegetable known; it’s right on par with kale. The phytonutrients and antioxidants alone make it worth including in your diet.
I decided to whip up a spicy soup. Honestly, it should be way too late in the season for soup recipes, but the groundhog was wrong when he said spring would come early this year. Here in Cleveland, it’s in the low 30s and is supposed to stay that way for quite some time. Blah…
Anyway, despite the number of ingredients, this soup is pretty much fool proof. The broth is a cherry, acidic tomato base with a wonderful spiciness. If you’d rather use beef or vegetable broth in the recipe, you certainly could. This could also be made meat free if you added in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Don’t forget the fennel if you plan on making it meat free (or otherwise, unless your sausage already has it in it).
One bunch Swiss chard, torn into two inch pieces
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium organic yellow squash, sliced and quartered
1 small organic zucchini, sliced and halved
1/2 organic green pepper, chopped
5-6 small organic carrots, chopped
1 cup cauliflower florets, chopped very small
4 cups organic diced tomatoes in juice (or one large can)
1 cup fresh green beans, chopped
1 small can organic tomato paste
6 cups organic chicken broth
2 c water
1 lb. ground hot Italian sausage (pork, chicken or turkey)
1 T fennel (omit if your sausage already contains fennel)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried)
2-3 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (for topping; optional)
1. In a large skillet, cook the sausage along with the garlic and chop it into small pieces. Keep the heat low so the sausage doesn’t brown: you do not want it to get crispy. Keep the juices in the pan and set aside.
2. Place the sausage and its juices into your Crock Pot or other slow cooker. To it add the broth, tomato paste, water and diced tomatoes. Stir well to dissolve the tomato paste.
3. Stir in the olive oil, fennel, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
4. Next, add in the vegetables except the Swiss chard: cauliflower, onion, green pepper, carrots, zucchini and squash. Stir well.
5. Finally, add in the chopped Swiss chard. The chard will reduce in size as it cooks, so your over-filled pot will not look so over filled in about an hour.
6. Allow the soup to simmer for about two hours on high or four hours on low. If it becomes too thick, add in an extra cup of water.
7. Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Nutrition (1/12th of recipe): 150 calories, 6 g carbs, 2 g fiber (4 g net carbs), 8 g fat, 9 g protein