Hearty vegetable soup with pasta shells [Vegan]

Jaymi's Notes:
I love a good vegetable soup. There's something so cozy and satisfying about it. Great for any season, using any vegetables that are in the markets, you just can't mess it up -- you can only make it more interesting.

I didn't have any pasta sauce in my cupboards for this version, which calls for using pasta sauce for the tomato base, and I wasn't sure which brand from the store would be best for this. So I simply went with a can of diced tomatoes with Italian spices. Granted my version probably isn't as flavorful as Kelly's recipe might be had I used a sauce, I think it still turned out wonderfully tasty. I can't wait to try it again in the fall using root vegetables and other goodies discovered during harvest season.

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Kelly's Recipe:
As regular readers would know, I love leftovers. Sometimes I have something that I can just reheat for lunch, but I often use leftovers as a base for something new. I had made a really good tomato pasta sauce for dinner and just had enough left over for one serving of pasta. I was in the position of having to make two lunches, one for myself and one for my husband, which really wasn't appealing. Instead, I used the pasta sauce as a base for a delicious vegetable soup.The pasta sauce added a real depth of flavour to the soup and gave it some additional heartiness. I just used up some vegetables from my crisper. and ended up with a rich, fairly thick soup with lots of great tomato flavour. I put some pasta shells into the soup, but as I was serving it, I thought some thick rustic bread toasted and rubbed with garlic would have been a great thing to put in the bottom of the soup bowl. So next time, I'll leave out the pasta shells and have the toast and drizzle some olive oil over the top of the soup.

If you have some green leafy vegetables like kale or swiss chard they would also a good addition to this soup. Kale takes longer to cook, so you would add it when you add the vegetable stock. If you use swiss chard or spinach, add it when you add the pasta shells. If you leave out the Parmesan cheese, this soup is vegan.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Vegetable Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 celery rib, sliced
6 mushrooms, sliced
1 cup tomato pasta sauce
5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup small pasta shells
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional - omit for vegan version)

1. In a large pot heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add onions, carrots and celery until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they have started to soften.

2. Add pasta sauce and vegetable stock and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add pasta shells, and cook until al dente. Taste for salt and pepper.

3. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese, if using.

Tags: Recipes | The Cooking Project | Vegan | Vegetarian | Weekday Vegetarian

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