1 cup sliced or diced carrots (1-2 large carrots or a handful of baby carrots)
1 cup sliced or diced zucchini (about 1 small)
a bunch of Italian seasoning (I used a generous Tablespoon)*
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
5-6 cups vegetable or chicken broth*
2 cups water
2-3 teaspoons red wine vinegar*
1 bay leaf
1 (14 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed*
1 (14 ounce) can butter beans, drained and rinsed*
1 (14 ounce) can green beans, drained and rinsed*
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato paste
1 and 1/3 cups uncooked rice or pasta*
3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
parmesan cheese, for serving
YIELD 8 servings
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 4 quart (or larger) pot or dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir and cook for 6-7 minutes as the vegetables soften up and let out some juices.
Add broth, water, red wine vinegar, bay leaf, all the beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then add uncooked rice or pasta. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Stir in the chopped spinach and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove bay leaf.
Serve soup warm in homemade bread bowls (or regular bowls, of course!) and top with fresh parmesan cheese, if desired.
Keep leftovers in a large tupperware in the refrigerator for up to a week. To reheat, simply pour into a pot over medium heat and cook until warm. Feel free to add more broth to the leftovers as it cooks if it is too thick-- I always do. (It thickens in the refrigerator as the veggies and rice soak up the liquid.)