Is everyone’s family as kooky as mine? Wait, don’t answer that.
But truly, when I look at how many different dishes we sometimes have at the same table, I do feel like we are more diner than family-style when it comes to meals. There’s my dad with the tattered but still crazy vegan diet that says you shouldn’t combine vegetables that grow above ground and below ground in the same meal (wtf?), my child who eats well, but rejects most soups and has a limited vegetable acceptability quotient; my mom who likes what she likes when she likes it and is not always easy to predict, and me, who eats mostly salad and picks at everyone else’s when she doesn’t really mean to and then complains about weight management. Four people, four different meals.
But then, sometimes you hit on something that is one dish that everyone can eat and modify to their liking.
Thus this soup, which can be done in three and a half simple steps. Chop onion and garlic. Saute. Throw everything else into the pot. Serve. The tortellini option simply involves either cooking the tortellini in the broth for everyone, or cooking the tortellini separately and adding it to the bowls of whomever would like to indulge. I think that’s 3.5. Anyway, easy.
So the happy result was that the dad enjoyed vegan vegetable soup ( despite the up-down nonsense), the mom and I had soup with a few tortellini, and the little guy had mostly tortellini, bathed in vegetable soup! Three-and-a-half steps, four happy people!
Simple and Hearty Vegan Vegetable Soup, with non-vegan Tortellini option
2 Tbs olive oil
½ onion, peeled and minced fine (between ¼ and ½ Cup)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced fine (about 1 Tbs)
2 quarts cooking liquid (a mix of vegetable stock, low sodium vegetable juice such as V-8, and water if you need to add liquid)
1 lb mixed frozen veggies (peas, corn, and carrots works well, as does summer squash mix. Avoid pre-seasoned blends)
2 Tbs mixed fresh herbs, chopped (your preferred blend of parsley/cilantro/basil/oregano) or 1 Tbs dry
½ tsp salt
(optional 13 oz. cheese tortellini and grated cheese for serving)
If using the tortellini, either cook according to package directions separately and then add to soup at the end OR add uncooked tortellini when indicated in the following instructions.
In a soup pot, heat olive oil at medium high until fragrant. Add onions, stir to coat, then add garlic and lower heat immediately to low. Sauté until vegetables are tender and translucent (about five minutes).
Add all other ingredients — including uncooked tortellini if using – return to boil, then lower to a lively simmer for about 15 minutes until tortellini is cooked. If using uncooked pasta, wait five minutes and then add when you have about 10 minutes left before serving. Previously cooked tortellini and pasta can be added just before serving to warm through, or in just the bowls of those who want them. Serve sprinkled with parmigiano reggiano or other grating cheese.