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Tuscan Vegetable Soup with Spinach and Butternut Squash

March 31, 2016

How is this vegetable soup different from all other vegetable soups? (’tis the season; I’ve got questions on my mind – so if you will be celebrating the story of Passover, please sing this question to the tune of Mah Nishtanah)

It’s Tuscan! That means inspired by the fertile Tuscany Valley. Countless combinations with a few basics. Fresh vegetables in vibrant contrasting colors. green things like spinach or chard or kale. Orange like butternut squash. Olive oil for richness. Tomato for depth of flavor. Beans, for thickness and more flavor like cannellini, Northern beans, red beans or garbanzos. And fresh herbs or dried, like oregano,  thyme and/or parsley.

If you can believe  this, Novio was not a soup person in his single days. He didn’t get it. Liquid food? He wanted the solid stuff. Something he could sink his teeth into. All that changed when he came down with a nasty cold one year. My Novio, thank goodness, is a sturdy guy. This was not a usual event, Grudgingly, he made his way to a favorite restaurant and ordered himself a piping hot bowl of the daily special. He thinks it might have been mushroom barley, but he’s not sure. Doesn’t matter. He’s now a true believer in soup. Of any denomination.

Good. Because I love soup. And I don’t think I’ve ever made a soup the same way twice. I even tinker with the most traditional one of all… chicken soup.

So I began this Tuscan veggie soup in a very traditional way – by sauteing chopped onions and garlic in olive oil. I also chopped up some carrots and celery. And threw in a parsnip too.

chopped onions and more

The liquid for the soup is a combination of vegetable broth, chopped  tomatoes in their own juice and water.

broth and tomatoes

Butternut squash, rinsed canned beans and spinach are going in later.

raw veggies for soupBefore the broth…

before the brothAfter the broth…simmering soup

And here come the other ingredients…

spinach in soup

Print Recipe



2 T. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced (use the leaves too)

1 parsnip, peeled  and diced

1 small butternut squash (or half a medium), diced

1 t. dried  oregano

4 c. low-sodium vegetable broth (or regular)

1 14-oz. can fresh diced tomatoes in their juice

2 c. water

1 14-oz. can Great Northern beans (or another white bean or garbanzos), drained and rinsed

2 c. fresh spinach

1/2 c. fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped

salt & pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in heavy-bottomed pot. A Dutch oven or your favorite soup pot are excellent choices. Add chopped  onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, celery, carrot, squash and dried herbs and cook for 5 more minutes.

Add the liquids: broth, tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 45 minutes with lid askew (like a jaunty beret). And beans and cook for 30 more  minutes. I  like everything soft.

Add spinach and cook until just wilted.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped parsley to finish.

Makes 6-8 servings. Like all soup, this one gets better the more you re-heat it.

bb serving ideas: Top off each bowl with a drizzle of olive oil. If going dairy, sprinkle a little grated parmesan on top of each bowl.

Watch the satisfied faces of your favorite soup-eaters… here’s a personal favorite…

satisfied soup eaters

Tuscan soup



From → Soup, Veggies

  1. Arlene Rosenblatt permalink

    looks good and we will try it soon

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