This week, we begin the Lenten season — which means (among other things) that it’s time to break out those meatless recipes! If you think you’re looking at a bleak future of fish-stick Fridays, guess again. There are so many creative, delicious ways to prepare a meal without meat. To prove it, we’ve gathered a handful of our favorites to share with you. Each week we’ll be featuring a new meatless recipe for you to try. To kick things off, we’re sharing a recipe for a classic: soup!
The word Lent comes from an ancient word meaning “spring,” but it always feels like Lent begins in winter. As this season helps us leave the cold, dark winter behind and step into the light and warmth of spring, we can rely on hearty soups to get us through — especially on meatless Lenten Fridays — because they are filling and the recipes for them are forgiving.
Here’s a recipe for a soup that can carry you through a cold Friday evening. All you need is your favorite canned tomato soup, cheese tortellini, and whatever vegetables you like. We went with carrots, summer squash, and zucchini. Put it in a crockpot or on the stove and let it simmer until everything is cooked through.
This recipe is really easy to expand if you’re cooking for roommates or friends — just add more of everything. The quantities are flexible, as long as you mix in enough tomato soup to make it soupy.
If you want to get really fancy with it, though, you can craft your own creamy tomato soup for the base. But at the end of a long work week, we’re much more prone to dump everything in a pot, put it over heat, watch two episodes of The Office, and tuck in for a hearty meal.
- 2 10 oz. cans of Campbell’s tomato soup
- 2 ⅔ cups of water
- 2 big carrots
- 1 summer squash
- 1 zucchini
- Half a 20 oz. bag of refrigerated cheese tortellini
- Garnish with fresh grated parmesan cheese, if you’re into that
Basically, you’re making regular tomato soup, but you’re an adult, so we’re not here to tell you what to do. You could use milk instead of water if you want it more creamy. Or, leave out the water/milk entirely and use a 32 oz. box of Pacific Foods roasted red pepper and tomato soup — it’s really good.
Peel the carrots, but not the squash nor zucchini. Cut all the veggies into bite-sized chunks and put them in the soup.
Here’s the deal with the tortellini: you can find it dried in the aisle as a hard noodle; or as a softer, fresher pasta noodle in the refrigerated section of the store. Either version will work, but the fresher version is better. Just keep in mind that tortellini expand as they cook — the dried will expand even more than the soft — so they’ll take up more room in your pot after it’s done cooking. So mix in about as much tortellini as you have vegetables so that the quantities are roughly even.
If you’re using a crockpot, turn it on and let it go — it’s hard to over-cook this soup. If you’re cooking on a stovetop, bring everything up to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn it down to low heat and let it simmer for about 40 minutes. The carrots will be the slowest to cook through (or the dried tortellini, if that’s what you’re using), so just check to make sure they’re soft before serving.
You can sprinkle some parmesan cheese over your bowl, but that’s up to you (you’ll probably find a container of fresh-grated parmesan next to the refrigerated tortellini).