With summer winding down, we’re harvesting the last of the vegetables from the garden. It’s a perfect time to use some of the veggies in a fresh vegetable Provencal soup. This is a traditional soup made in southern France with garlic, onions, tomatoes and herbs, and from the different recipes I’ve seen for it, just about any other vegetable that’s on hand.
Amy had some eggplant and I found this recipe from Mark Bittman that features eggplant and zucchini. What’s amazing about his recipe is that there are very few seasonings…just salt, pepper and basil. The flavor that is achieved though, is fantastic.
Once the veggies are chopped up, you cook the garlic and onion for 5 minutes to get the onion tender. Then add everything else to the pot and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. It couldn’t be simpler.
I decided to make some croutons for this also, and it’s a nice added flavor and crunch. If you’ve never made croutons, it’s pretty easy. Turn your oven on to 375°. Take 5 slices of white bread, cut off the crust, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, drizzle with a little olive oil and toss to coat. Throw the bread onto a baking sheet then sprinkle lightly with salt. Place in the oven for 6 minutes then turn the croutons with a spatula as best you can, then bake for another 5 minutes or so, until the bread has browned nicely. This should make enough for 4 to 5 servings.
A sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese on the soup is nice also.
You can use this recipe for Provencal soup as a guideline and you may want to use some different vegetables of your choosing. This is an easy to make, excellent tasting soup…I know I’ll be making this again.
Fresh Vegetable Provencal Soup
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves , coarsely minced
- 1 lg onion , chopped
- salt and pepper , about 1/2 tsp each
- 1 medium zucchini , chopped
- 1 medium eggplant , peeled and cubed
- 3 cups fresh chopped tomatoes (4 medium and 6 plum is what I used)
- 2 red peppers , chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth , (I used Better than Bouillon seasoned vegetable base, 1 1/2 tbsp in 4 cups boiling water)
- 1 cup black olives , chopped
- 1 tbsp minced fresh basil , plus more for garnish
- bread croutons , (optional)
- grated Parmesan cheese , (optional)
- In a dutch oven or stock pot on medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic, and onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is tender, 5 or 6 minutes.
- Add the zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and broth and bring to a boil, then simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Add the black olives and basil and simmer for 5 more minutes
- Serve hot with more basil to garnish, croutons and Parmesan cheese if desired