The forecast in Boston calls for rain for the next 10 days. As a New Englander, it’s hard not to think that once June rolled around we would get our share of mild, sunny days after the dump of snow we got this year.
Apparently Mother Nature feels we still need to shore up some more of that hardy Yankee character by postponing our outdoor fun for just a bit longer. Gray clouds fill the horizon. Sidewalks are slick.
So, when stuck in doors as the rain pounds on the roof turning your attention to a nice steaming pot of soup is always a good idea. Secretly, this means we can enjoy the comfort of hearty bread for another week or two before really having to worry about how that swimsuit will fit this summer.
I got this recipe from Patti, a friend in Kentucky, who says she and her daughter eat this soup with great enthusiasm as beach days draw near. It’s called the “Extreme Diet Soup.”
Personally, that’s not how I like to think of soup. So I tinkered with the ingredients a bit and made the portions more manageable for one or two people to consume. This is the vegetarian version. You can easily substitute chicken for the tofu and chicken broth for the vegetable broth.
The jalapeno pepper will make your lips tingle and the squeeze of lemon inspired me to rename it to something a little more … hopeful.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 12 ounce package of extra-firm tofu, drained and diced
1 carrot, finely shredded
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno pepper with seeds, minced
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
6 cups vegetable broth
1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained
4 cups of packed fresh baby spinach leaves
1 large tomato, diced
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
Pepper to taste
Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tofu and cook for another 5 minutes until the tofu and onions are lightly browned.
Add carrot, garlic, jalapeno, and oregano, cook another 2 minutes.
Stir in broth and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil.
Add beans, spinach, tomato, and salt. Bring back to a boil and then turn off heat. Add pepper to taste, and more salt if desired.
Divide into four soup bowls. Garnish each bowl with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and a squirt of lemon. Serve with hearty bread.
Cooking tip of the day: Wash a cut onion under cold, running water to keep your eyes from swimming in tears as you dice it.