Confession time:  Last night, I ate two big bowls of this soup in one sitting.  Partly because it tastes soooo darned silky and yummy, and partly because it reminds me of my grandma.

See, my heritage is Italian – Northern Italian in the Piedmont region, to be specific.  So, while everyone else immediately thinks of tomatoes and mozzarella when they think of Italian food, I think of lighter fare – and, particularly the way my grandma cooked, spinach in everything. (Side note:  her version of ravioli was chicken and spinach served in a chicken broth.  The first time I ever saw ravioli made with beef in a tomato sauce, I was revolted.)

My second confession – I keep this soup very simple – I don’t throw in a lot of potatoes or butternut squash, nor do I add any herbs.  I just wanted the simple flavors of the root vegetables to come through.  You can add layers of flavor by adding some dried thyme when you’re cooking the vegetables, or finish with chopped dill just before serving.  Or you could chop up some waxy potatoes or butternut squash for additional filler, extending the soup even farther.  But, that’s the nice thing about soups, isn’t it?  It’s so easy to adapt and change, depending on what you have in your fridge or pantry.

One other thing – this could easily be turned vegan by substituting vegetable stock – or, if you’d like to make it a little heavier, you could add some chicken or pork, so feel free to tinker with you as needed.

But, if you just want to keep it at it’s basic foundation, you’ll be just as happy – the final result is gorgeous and hearty, filling you and warming you on a cold winter night!

Garlicky Winter Vegetable Soup

  • Good couple of glugs of garlic-infused olive oil (about 4 Tbsp)
  • 3 large leeks, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2″ discs
  • 3 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • About 4-6 oz frozen spinach (don’t worry about thawing and draining)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, add the leeks, carrots and celery, cooking until the leeks are very wilted and the carrots are soft.  Add the garlic and cook a minute, then add the chickpeas and stock.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes.  Add the spinach, then cook another 5-10 minutes until everything is thoroughly heated.  Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed.

Serve with big honkin’ pieces of garlic toast.

Garlicky winter veg soup

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