Ellensister here and I love soup! We had this meal tonight for dinner. What a great way to get your veggies, and this is such a tasty soup! It gives off such a warm and enticing aroma in your home while it is cooking! Ribollita soup is a hearty Tuscan soup. I initially saw this recipe in an Eating Well magazine (April 2012) and thought I would convert it to paleo. Traditionally, bread is used as a thickener and filler. Well, my version uses diced sweet potatoes instead. Also, you may add Italian sausage for a bit more protein if you like. On an aside, this recipe calls for celery. If you have the opportunity to purchase organic celery, I believe that this is one of those vegetables that is truly pesticide laden if not organic. It is number one on the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s “Dirty Dozen” of fruits and vegetables that are high in pesticide residue. Also, broad leafy vegetables such as the Swiss chard in this recipe are also better purchased organic when possible as they have a large surface area for pesticide absorption. This recipe also calls for canned tomatoes. Again, better if you can supply your own or buy organic as canned foods are subject to BPA. For more info, refer to EWG’s website at http://www.ewg.org/
What I liked about this recipe is all the veggies! This soup is the only way I can get my 4 year old to eat Swiss chard! Also, you don’t have to strictly follow the recipe. Soup is such a great way to use up your leftover veggies ! And, it taste great! This soup has a zippy flavor with a touch of heat!
What I didn’t like is all the chopping! There are a lot of vegetables to chop here. However, if you have already committed to a paleo lifestyle, then you have probably come to terms with this chore. There is no shortcut for well-prepared, healthy meals at home.
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes ( I used Muir Glen organic fire roasted diced tomatoes for a spicier kick)
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
I onion, chopped
1/4 cup grated garlic
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced zucchini
1/4 tsp salt, divided
1 bunch Swiss chard, trimmed and cut if needed into 2 inch wide strips
1/4 head green cabbage, cut into cubes or strips
2 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes
3 cups vegetable broth (try to avoid MSGs in your broth…I used Rapunzel brand)
2 cups water
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 to 1 tsp dried sage
crushed red pepper to taste
1/2 lb ground Italian sausage, pork or chicken (organic preferred), fully cooked and crumbled
1. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until translucent and tender, 2-3 min. Do not brown. Season with 1/8 tsp pepper. Stir in carrots, celery and zucchini and the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil; cook, stirring as needed until nearly tender, 3 to 5 min. Season with 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper.
2. When carrot and celery are nearly tender, stir in Swiss chard and cabbage. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until wilted, 4 to 6 min. Add potatoes, broth, water, tomatoes (juice and all), and remaining seasoning. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add remaining salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring as needed and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer until all vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 min. Add sausage and cook until warmed.
I served this soup to my family with a side of egg and ham bake. Now, any recipe that your 4 year old can help you prepare is not really all that glamorous, but these are tasty and easy and a good way to spend some time cooking with your children. Spray a muffin pan with oil. Press a slice of ham into each muffin hole. (Hormel makes a deli ham that has no MSG or added nitrates or nitrites). Crack an egg over each ham slice. Salt and pepper as you like. Bake for 30 min in a 350 degree oven.