Vegetarian "Pizza" Soup

Ok, it's not pizza, but it's really tasty. This is how this soup came about, it's one of the few recipes that I made up all by myself [preens a little :-)],  We do this thing out our Presbyterian Church called Wii Kirk every month or so.  Wii Kirk is on a Friday nights and the pastor's wife, whom I will always refer to as Saint Cheryl of Shirlington, bake an assortment of pizzas from scratch for whomever shows up.  The kids play Wii on the big screen, the parents have a glass of wine or two and have a nice start to their weekend.  It's become a mostly secular tradition at our little church. Saint Cheryl and I have a good time doing it, and it brings people to the church that might not attend a Sunday service.

Last year my spouse and I were doing this 28 day diet called Shred, and a Wii Kirk happened in the middle of this program.  I created this soup so that we wouldn't be tempted by the luscious pizzas- it didn't work, but it's a really amazing soup, with everything you'd put on a veggie pizza - plus cannelli beans for added protein. It was lacking in cheese flavor, but that's to be expected. If you weren't watching calories and fat you could add some Parmesan cheese to the top....ooooh!  A 1 cup serving will set you back about 170 calories (without cheese, of course).

So here it is:

ADD, 1 Tbls of olive oil to a stock pot, and sautee over medium heat the following, until the onions are translucent, about 2 - 3 minutes:

1 onion chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped (not mashed, it's nice to have the little chunks of garlic in the soup)

ADD, and sweat for about 2 - 3 minutes:

1 lb. of mushrooms, diced
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 6-oz can of tomato paste
2 cups of water

SIMMER, until the mushrooms are fully cooked, about 10 - 15 minutes

ADD, and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

20 Kalamata Olives, chopped
6 Oil-packed Sun Dried Tomatos, diced
8 Artichoke hearts, halved or quartered depending on size (optional)
1 14-oz can of Cannelli Beans

All done!  Top with parmesan cheese if your are feeling reckless!


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