Friday, March 13, 2009

Grandma's Peasant Soup

Yesterday I was coming home from an activity with my four kids in the car. It was dinnertime already, and they were hungry. To top it off, I had no idea what I was going to make. We were approaching the familiar intersection near our home and my daughter called out, "Taco Bell! I'm staaaarving!" The thought crossed my mind.

Everyone fed for twelve dollars.
I could get a cheeseless bean burrito.
No preparation.
No dishes.

Car veers left...and....

"NO!" "You can whip up something." Insert devil on shoulder: "But I'm tired and I think I feel a cold coming on and..." "You can do it! Most people in the world don't have fast food!"

My concious won. And within 20 minutes I had a healthy, cheap, meal on the table that ALL the MEV's (meat-eating vegans) loved. It was nothing gourmet, nothing earth-shattering, just something I learned from my Italian Grandmother (who is now 91).

Grandma was born in 1917 and was 12 years old when the Depression hit. She remembers that she NEVER complained what was for dinner. They were lucky to have food at all. And when things got a little better, she remembers her father eating an apple every night before he went to bed. That was their "treat." So it is with fond memories, I share this recipe with you. Not to "WOW" you with my culinary skills - but to remind us all that we can make something out of almost nothing - and with the state of the economy, I think we can all be schooled a bit by Grandma about surviving hard times.

Grandma's Peasant Soup
Whether your poor on cash, or time, this soup will warm your soul and fill up hungry tummys.


  • 6 cups vegetable broth, or 6 cups water plus 6 teaspoons vegetable bouillon
  • 2 heads broccolli, or other veggie: spinach, zucchini, other squash
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (we like shells) or rice


I'll be honest, I completely guessed on the measurements for this soup. The truth is there IS no recipe. You use what you have on hand. Whether it's broccoli or yellow squash, brown rice or pasta shells. The idea is, a brothy soup with pasta or rice, and veggies.

Cook your pasta as indicated on package, or use leftover pasta or rice. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Once boiling, add the vegetable and cook for about 2 minutes. (If using spinach, just turn off the heat once you put it in.) Ladle soup over bowls of rice or pasta. For the kids, I cut up the broccoli into smaller pieces once in the bowl.

Garnish with soy parmesan, or if your at my house - the MEV's (mostly eating vegans or meat eating vegans ie. my kids and husband) use the real deal. Serve with crusty bread or toast.

Printable Version

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