“a family weekday meal would satisfy fussy meat eaters and vegetarians alike”
what you need
1 large onion, sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
120ml olive oil
1/2 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 large carrot, sliced
3 celery sticks, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced
2 tbsp tomato purée or paste
250ml red wine or balsamic vinegar
400g can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped oregano
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 litre vegetable stock
160g stale sourdough bread (we used Sol Organic Bakery Caramelised Onion Sourdough Vienna)
400g can chickpeas
4 tbsp fresh basil and hemp seed pesto (recipe here )
sea salt and ground black pepper
what to do
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place the onion and fennel in a large saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of the oil and sauté on a medium heat for about approximately 10 minutes until soft and slightly caramelised. Add the carrot, celery, cauliflower and zucchini and continue cooking for approximately 4-5 minutes until the vegetables are just softened. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Add the wine and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, the herbs, stock and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover and leave to simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
Break the bread into rough chunks. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil and sea salt to taste and layer on a baking tray. Bake for about 10 minutes, or slightly browned and dry. Remove from the oven and set aside.
About 10 minutes before you want to serve the soup, place the chickpeas in a bowl and crush them a little with a fork, leaving some of the chickpeas whole. Add the chickpeas to the soup and leave to simmer for a further 5 minutes. Next add the toasted bread, stir well and cook for another 5 minutes. Add further salt and pepper, if required.
The soup is now ready to serve. Add a dollop of pesto and a drizzle of olive oil and you have an easy family meal that everyone will enjoy.
The bread can absorb the liquid and so the soup can sometimes be more like a casserole. However, you can add water or more stock to get your desired consistency.