Chunky Beef and Vegetable Soup

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INGREDIENTS:

•1 lb  ground beef (grass fed, if possible)*

•2 Tbsp olive oil , divided

•1 yellow or sweet onion, chopped

•1 red bell pepper, chopped *

•¾ cup chopped carrots (about 2-3 carrots)

•¾ cup chopped celery (2-3 stalks)

•2 cups chopped greens (spinach, swiss chard, kale)

•3-4 cloves garlic, minced

•2 (14.5 oz) cans diced or crushed tomatoes *

•1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce *

•4 cups vegetable broth *

•2 Tbsp dried parsley, plus fresh for garnish if desired

•1-2 Tbsp dried basil

•1-2 tsp dried oregano

•2-3 bay leaves

•Crushed red pepper to taste (start with 1/4 tsp)

•Salt and freshly ground black pepper (recommend starting with 1 tsp of each and adjust to taste)

  • recommend using organic ingredients when possible.

Optional (omit if Paleo):

•1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice 

•Parmesan cheese for serving

INSTRUCTIONS:

•In a large pot or Dutch oven heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, once hot add beef to pot and break apart. Add salt and a pepper and continue to stir the beef until browned. Once beef is cooked pour into a bowl and set aside (you can drain beef if desired).

•Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in pot, add onions and stir until they start to turn translucent, about three minutes. Add carrots, celery and red bell pepper and saute 3 minutes, add cabbage and saute another minute and then add garlic and saute 1 min longer.

Pour in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth and add parsley, basil, oregano and cooked beef, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30-40 minutes until vegetables are cooked to your preference.

•While soup simmers, prepare rice according to directions listed on package, then once soup is done simmering stir in desired amount of cooked rice into soup.

Add leafy greens, stir until they are wilted and mixed into the soup.

Serve soup warm topped with  cheese, red pepper flakes and fresh parsley, if desired.

NOTES:

•Rice can be made in advance to reduce prep time on a busy night.

•Don’t like beef? Use ground turkey instead.

Feel free to modify the veggies to suit your taste (and quantity on hand).

•You can adjust the amount of rice based on your preference or to monitor your carb intake.  If you are planning to have leftovers you may want to keep the rice separate and add it to the soup upon serving in order to avoid it getting mushy.  I added all of the rice when I made it and it was fine a couple days later leftover.

Store any leftovers in fridge or freezer for a quick meal another day.