Tomato Basil Soup

This is a dish that heals what ails you. And couldn’t we all use a little extra care and comfort right now? 
The only trick with this simple soup is to salt along the way. I read once that the difference between home cooking and restaurant cooking is heat and salt. Keep tasting to ensure your soup is full flavored and robust.
Tomato Basil Soup

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 tablespoon butter

• 1 Walla Walla sweet onion, chopped

• 3 carrots, peeled and chopped

• 1 stalk celery, chopped

• ½ tablespoon dried basil OR 1 tablespoon prepared pesto

• 3 28-oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes

• 1 28-oz. box organic chicken stock

• 1 tablespoon sugar

• 2 cups milk

• Salt and pepper to taste (about 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper)

In a large pot, melt oil and butter together over medium heat. Add diced onion, carrots and celery, stirring often until softened and translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Salt and pepper the vegetables and add dried basil. If swapping with pesto, wait to add until tomatoes and chicken stock are added. Pour in the tomatoes, chicken stock and sugar.

Stir to combine and salt and pepper again. Turn heat to low, allowing the veggies to continue to cook and the flavors to combine.

Let the soup simmer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. You can also place a lid on the pot and put the soup in the oven at 300 degrees. Stir occasionally.

Using an immersion blender, potato masher or a regular blender, pulse or mash the liquid to desired smoothness. My family likes it fairly smooth, so I transfer the liquid to my blender. Put soup back on stove and add the milk. Warm through and serve with crusty bread with melted butter, a grilled cheese sandwich or a big glass of wine.

Cheese Tortellini Soup


There’s just something about soup. It wraps you up like a big bear hug and warms you from the inside out. I love the simple rhythm of making soup. First the chopping, then the stirring, until finally it’s time to ladle up bowls and pass them around the table.

As the leaves shimmer in shades of red, orange and yellow and the days shorten, beginning their slow and steady descent toward winter, soup season begins. It is a comforting welcome.
One of my favorites is a riff on minestrone. That’s the beauty of soup: it doesn’t usually require precise ingredients. It leaves room to swap and experiment.

So go ahead, test out this quick and easy cheese tortellini soup recipe, then make it your own. Swap kale for spinach and throw in some zucchini or potatoes.

Cheese Tortellini Soup

• 1 lb. pork or turkey Italian sausage

• 1 medium sweet or yellow onion, chopped

• 3 carrots, chopped

• 3 stalks celery, chopped

• 3 cloves garlic, chopped

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1-28 oz. can San Marzano diced tomatoes (any diced tomatoes work, but San Marzano really do make a difference)

• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

• 2 tablespoons honey

• 3-32 oz. boxes chicken stock (12 cups)

• 1 box cheese or pesto tortellini

• 1-6 oz. bag of spinach

• Salt and pepper to taste
In a large stock pot (think 6 to 8 quarts — this recipe makes a big pot of soup) brown the Italian sausage until cooked through. Set meat aside. In the same pot, drizzle in olive oil, toss in veggies and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent. Salt and pepper the vegetables. Add garlic and sauté for two more minutes. Add tomatoes, Italian sausage, balsamic vinegar and honey. Stir to combine. Add chicken stock and tortellini. Bring soup to a slow boil, stirring often until tortellini have plumped up and cooked through. Stir in spinach and let simmer on low, stirring often, until ready to serve. It’s important to stir and taste, stir and taste to make sure the broth is rich and flavorful.

I serve this soup with crusty bread, a sprinkle of salty parmesan cheese and a glass of hearty cabernet sauvignon. On that first cold night in fall, when the leaves are blowing around and you have to dig to find your favorite forgotten sweatshirt, this is the perfect recipe for dinner. … A warm hug on a cool night.

Beef and Vegetable Soup


I make SO much soup in the fall and winter, so I decided this is ‘soup week’ on The Salt and Stone. Below is a recipe I shared years ago in Kitchen Captivated but it’s one I make constantly all through the cold dark winter months.

I’ve never been one for grand resolutions (I see you whole30 enthusiasts and I raise my glass of wine to every one of you who do it)…but I do love a challenge. And after to many weeks of excess— extra glasses of wine, treats taunting me from every corner of the house and enough butter-based goodies to open my own shop — it’s time to rein in the extravagance and settle into a healthier routine.
I refuse to diet, but after a season of “more” I can appreciate focusing on the simple nourishment of what I put on the table for myself and my family. So my challenge is to get back to basics: fresh, whole food. I’m weaning off the sugar and remembering that food is fuel. I feel my best, as does my family, when we stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains.
This soup recipe has been in my family for years. We used to joke that it’s a “detox soup,” and while it doesn’t have the benefits of a “detox,” it will make you feel good from the inside out.

Vegetable & Beef Soup

• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 tablespoon butter

• 3 carrots, chopped

• 3 stalks celery, chopped

• 1 medium sweet onion, chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, chopped

• 3 red potatoes, chopped

• 1 head green cabbage, chopped

• 1 28-oz. can organic diced tomatoes

• 1 lb. beef stew meat or round steak, sliced into bite-sized pieces

• 8 cups beef stock (homemade if you can, organic and low-sodium if store-bought)

• Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Chop all the vegetables so they are as uniform in size as possible. The cabbage can be shredded or sliced lengthwise and then chopped into thirds. (This is a great crock pot recipe too…just load everything in the crockpot, set on low and walk away for 8ish hours).
In a large oven-safe pot, brown stew meat in ½ tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the meat is seared on all sides. Remove from pot and set aside. Add another ½ tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to the pot. Sauté onion, carrot and celery for 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften and onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute until garlic is fragrant. Salt and pepper vegetable mixture.

Add potatoes, tomatoes and green cabbage. Cook all vegetables for an additional 5 minutes. Mix in stew meat and pour beef stock over the vegetables. Salt and pepper again.

Cover the pot with a lid and put the pot into the oven. Cook for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables and meat are cooked through, take a potato masher and break up the vegetables and meat. (The meat will naturally shred as it cooks, but I prefer the texture of the vegetables all broken up.)
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese. Our family likes this soup with a peppery bite, so we add plenty of fresh cracked pepper throughout the cooking process, up to a full tablespoon sometimes. Also, this soup cooks down quite a bit, especially in the oven, so don’t be surprised if you need to add an additional cup or two of stock to thin the soup. Simply add the stock to the pot, taste and add a little salt and pepper if necessary.

Pumpkin Chipotle Soup

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We built a house last year (as you well know). It was all the things people tell you it will be; fun, creative, exciting, challenging, grey-hair inducing and an absolute dream come true. We always wanted to live in the country and in addition to the chaos our three kids create running around we’ve added dogs, chickens and even a couple sheep to our ‘farm.’ It is lovely, loud and so fun.

As we planned for our house, the kitchen table took center stage. I wanted a BIG table that would fit the five of us from day to day, as well as any number of family or friends who would find themselves at our home. I wanted that table to be the heartbeat of our home and at the center of all our activity.

My husband Aaron, always up for a do-it-yourself project, set about building our dream table. He used reclaimed barn wood and a friend welded a metal base. Over 9 feet long with two matching benches, the table easily sits 12 but we’ve crowded almost 20 around it a time or two. Aaron spent countless hours working on that table, standing in the cold garage most nights; sanding, staining and lacquering the table. Halfway through the table project he had an accident with another do-it-yourself project for our house and sustained a serious injury on his left hand. To watch him finish the table, one-handed, still makes me smile every time we sit down to eat.

During this busy holiday season, I love to take any opportunity I can to gather my people around the table. Whether it’s a quick weeknight dinner between basketball practices or a big dinner party with friends the goal is the same: serve up something warm and comforting.

This pumpkin soup is a favorite and one I’ve made time and time again. I lightened it up a little from the original recipe as I’ve tweaked and made it my own. I hope you’ll do the same in your own kitchen. The soup is the perfect combination of sweet and savory, creamy with a touch of heat, hearty but light. A loaf of warm bread and a glass of wine are all you need to complete the meal.

Chipotle Pumpkin Soup with Chicken and Barley

*recipe adapted from the blog, Life in Grace

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, washed and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, washed and diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 14oz. can pure pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed (I use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chipotle pepper in adobo, seeds removed and diced finely (very spicy, if you don’t like heat in your food, start with ½ teaspoon).
  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 boxes organic low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¾ cup to 1 cup low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt

In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrots and celery and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions are translucent and the carrots and celery begin to soften. Stir in garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Salt and pepper the vegetables mixture. Add the chicken stock, pumpkin puree, chicken and chipotle pepper. Lower the heat to medium-low and stir in the barley, honey and spices (salt and pepper the soup again) and cook for 30 minutes or until the barley is plump and tender. Turn the heat off and allow the soup to cool. When soup has cooled slightly, stir in sour cream. (This is important, if you stir in the sour cream before the soup has cooled down, it will curdle. The soup will taste fine but it won’t look nearly as appetizing.)

To serve, warm the soup back up on the stove. Ladle into bowls and serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

*Originally printed in the Yakima Magazine. More Kitchen Captivated recipes here.