Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Panera Bread Style Low Fat Garden Vegetable Soup

As I mentioned in my previous post. I had the Low Fat Garden vegetable Soup with Basil Pesto from Panera bread for dinner two days back. I love their soup. It consists of a lot of vegetables. It also has some pasta which fill you up. The soup is a low fat soup, which is always good and it tastes good too. I tried to replicate it at home last night. I would say it tasted pretty close, if not the same.

The Panera Bread soup consists of pearl barley. I didn't have pearl barley at home, so I added quinoa, to get similar texture. I also added farfalle (bow-tie pasta), instead of the elbow pasta, which is what the soup has.

The following recipe makes a big batch (atleast 6 bowls full) of soup. Cut the recipe in half if you would like to make a smaller batch.

3 Large and juicy tomatoes (2 Cups) cut into medium size pieces)
1 Big Zucchini, Cut into Small Pieces
1/2 Cup Yellow Onion, Finley Chopped (any mild tasting variety will do),
1 Cup Bell Pepper, Finley Chopped,
1/4 Cup Frozen Corn,
3 Cloves Garlic, Finley Chopped,
6 Oz Tomato Paste (1 Small Can)
1/4 Cups Quinoa
3 Cups Water (for Soup)
1/2 Cup, Uncooked Farfalle or Bow-tie pasta (You can use any shape of small sized pasta)
3 Tablespoon Olive oil
2 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese,
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Basil, OR 4-5 Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped
1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning, (herbs blend),
1 Teaspoon Salt, or to Taste,
2 Teaspoon Freshly Crushed Black Pepper, or to Taste,
3 Tablespoon Homemade Basil Pesto
1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper (Optional)

Heat the oil in a big pan. Once hot, add the onion, bell pepper, corn, quinoa and zucchini. Cook on medium high heat for 5 minutes. Then add the cut tomatoes and garlic. Cook again for another 5 minutes. Now add water, tomato paste, salt, and pepper to the soup and bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
In the mean time, on another stove, boil enough water to cook the pasta in. Add salt and let the water come to boil. Add the pasta and cook for recommend time (on the package). Drain and keep aside.
After 30 minutes of simmering, add the basil pesto, pasta, Italian seasoning, pamersan cheese and dried basil (or chopped fresh basil)to the soup. Cook on for another 5 minutes, just to get everything mixed up well. Turn off the stove. Add crushed red pepper if desired. Serve hot with warm baguette.

-- I like my soup very thick and chunky. You can add more water if desired.
-- You can also add other vegetables of your choice. Some Examples: carrots, peas, green beans etc etc. Some kidney beans would taste good too. I wanted to add carrots, but forgot about it when I was chopping the rest of the veggies.

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