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We had an unexpected cool snap (cool snap?) earlier this week.  In fact, I’m pretty sure we’ve had more consecutive cool/cold days this month than we did in February.  Mother Nature has just been all over the place.  Naturally, soup seemed totally called for.

This soup is so wonderful.  I made it many times last year (before I had a food blog) and never tired of it.  And since, until recently, it’s been unseasonably warm, summer produce seems to be popping out of nowhere: summer squash, tomatoes, corn, bell peppers.  And since the middle of summer is no time for soup, a few cool days in the middle of a warm spring is the absolute perfect time to make this dish.  And yes, that is me upside down in the spoon, wearing a tie-dyed shirt.

Southwestern Vegetable Soup

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into a 1/4-inch dice (I used an orange pepper)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 zucchini, cut into a 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes (or any tomatoes you’d like), cut in half
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (1-2 ears of corn)
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 tsp kosher/sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or large pot.  Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add the peppers and continue to sauté for 2 more minutes.  Add the zucchini and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Add the chicken stock, tomato paste and cumin, and bring it all to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in beans, corn and tomatoes and simmer until heated through.  Add the chopped cilantro and serve. (If you don’t like cilantro, you can use parsley.  I’ve used it before in this soup and it’s very good too.)

You can add tortilla chips or strips and make it a tortilla soup.  And I’m not a big fan of spicy food, but if you want to add some heat to the soup, you can use a poblano or jalapeño pepper in place of or in addition to the sweet bell pepper.