Soups On!

8 Oct

This is another shout-out to my dad around his birthday! He makes some tasty lentil soup in the winter.  I don’t think he does anything special to it, but that’s the soup I really start thinking about when the weather starts to get cold.  Which it FINALLY did for real yesterday.  High of 60, rainy and overcast all day? Sounds like a soup day to me!

I’m pretty sure I could have whipped up a batch of lentil soup on my own, but it just wouldn’t be the same.  So instead I made a copy-cat version of my dad’s (and my) favorite soup from The Olive Garden!

For being such a complex soup, this one is surprisingly easy to make…cut some vegetables, brown some meat, and then dump in some canned goods.  It’s a snap, and so hearty and delicious.  The ingredients are also relatively inexpensive…mostly canned!  So there’s no reason not to make this great soup!


First get some ground beef browning over medium heat in a large stock pot while you chop up some veggies.

Check out this GIANT onion I found!  I mean, I don’t have very big hands, but geez this onion was massive.  It’s popping out of its skin!

You may be all ‘dang girl, what genetically engineered steroid pumping farm did you get that thing from?!’  But according to the sticker, this onion is organic.  Crazy right?  (Although I’m not certain if that means it hasn’t been genetically modified…)

Anyway, veggies:

Drain your meat and remove from the pan.  Add a drizzle of oil and sweat your veggies with a generous sprinkle of salt.  Let these cook until the onions and celery are translucent, about 5 minutes (omg smells so good).

Then, well…just dump everything else in (except pasta).  This is going to cool your pan down, so leave it on medium-high heat until the soup comes to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover.  You’re going to let that simmer for at least a half hour…until your carrots are soft.  Just check on it every ten minutes or so, taste for seasonings and stir.  You should also add water or beef broth if your soup is looking too thick.

Told you that was easy.  Just one more step before you can devour some delicious soup, and that’s to cook your pasta.

Shortly before you want to eat, bring some water to a boil and cook your pasta for a minute less than indicated on the box.  You could use whatever small pasta you like (elbow noodles or shells would be good), but this is the kind the Olive Garden uses (and my new favorite pasta…it’s so cute!)

Strain the pasta, stir into the big soup pot, and allow to simmer for a few minutes.

Mmm, then serve.

This soup is crazy good.  It’s so full of flavor, and packed with protein and fiber, which makes it hearty and filling.

Especially delicious when served with saltines (or matzo if you have some leftover from say…making matzo ball soup?) and Parmesan cheese.  Perfection.  The only thing missing was a buttery breadstick…mmm.


Pasta e Fagioli Soup (Olive Garden Copy)
Slightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
Serves 4 (at least)

1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion (about half of a small onion)
1/2 cup chopped carrot (I used 1.5 normal sized carrots)
1/2 cup celery, diced (1 stalk)
14 oz crushed tomatoes
8 oz can tomato sauce
8 oz beef broth (You will probably need more…the soup gets pretty thick)
1/2 a 15 oz can red kidney beans (with liquid)
1/2 a 15 oz can great northern beans (with liquid)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
4oz dry ditalini pasta (about a half cup)

  • Brown ground beef in a stock pot over medium heat.  Drain the liquid, remove the meat, and set aside.
  • Add a drizzle of oil to the pot, and cook veggies with a generous sprinkle of salt until the onions are translucent (4-5 minutes)
  • Add remaining ingredients (except pasta), stir.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and allow the soup to simmer for at least half an hour, until the carrots are soft.  Stir and taste occasionally for seasonings.
  • When it nears time to eat, boil water and cook pasta for a minute less than indicated on the box.  Drain pasta and stir into soup, and allow to simmer for a few minutes with the soup.
  • Serve with Parmesan cheese!


  • I omitted the basil (because I went with a can of crushed tomatoes with basil in it), and oregano (didn’t have any)
  • I used ground turkey…it was alright, but ground beef would have been better
  • I used a whole can of great northern beans because, well, I just didn’t have a plan on how to use up the rest of the can (the other half of the kidney beans went into sloppy joe’s)

2 Responses to “Soups On!”

  1. Mike October 9, 2012 at 2:03 am #

    Next day off I have I am going to give this a try! Looks so good. Angel and I have been saying how we wanted to make some soup and this will be a nice change up from my lentil…maybe some pumpkin cheesecake for dessert?

    • haliteandpepper October 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

      Omg, this soup is so good. I’ve been eating it the past two days, and there’s some left and I’m STILL excited. The noodles plump up really nicely the longer it sits, also.

      And mmm…pumpkin cheesecake…

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