Vegetarian for Carnivores – Italian Hotpot

When I’m not working, I spend most of my time with my lovely wife we shall call “Mrs Foodie”. She enjoys baking but generally shies away from other cooking, meaning I am left with the conundrum of what to cook every night. Now at first glance this does not seem much of a mean feat but where the conflict arises is that she’s an ovo-lacto vegetarian (eggs and milk ok) and I love to eat meat. So the majority of my cooking is vegetarian, food hearty enough it can substitute my insatiable desire for meat, or flexible enough that you can add meat to it when it is served.
After a long day’s work it can be hard to muster up the energy to cook and now we are heading into winter it seems there is even less incentive. This is where your trusty friend SOUP comes to the rescue! It’s relatively quick and low fuss, fills you up and comforts you, great as leftovers the next day for lunch or why not freeze for an emergency dinner.

Italian Hotpot
A hearty vegetable soup with the subtle flavour of fennel and heaps of beans for protein and fibre. For the carnivores you can make it super awesome by adding some sausage meatballs.

You need:
A slug of olive oil
2 onions, diced
3 tsp crushed garlic
2 medium size bulbs of fennel (Florence fennel, not the herb), diced
2 zucchini (courgette if you’re French but today we’re Italian), diced
1L vegetable stock
1tsp salt
1tsp ground black pepper
2cans beans (cannellini are good)
1cup dried lentils
1can pasta sauce (~450g), cheap stuff is fine for soup
1/3 c chopped fresh Herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme is good)

6 country pork sausages (optional)
Finely grated parmesan cheese and more fresh herbs to serve

To make:
1. Grab your soup pot/ pressure cooker and sauté onions, garlic and fennel in the olive oil for a few minutes.

Fennel bulb, chop chop chop
Fennel bulb, chop chop chop

2. Hiff everything else in and cook till lentils are soft, I pressure cook for 15 mins.

Everything in the pressure cooker
Everything in the pressure cooker

3. Whilst waiting for the soup, quarter the sausages making little meatballs and pan fry till nicely browned all over.

Mmm sausages, better eat one just to check if they're cooked properly.
Mmm sausages, better eat one just to check if they’re cooked properly.

4. When everything is ready, serve up the soup with meatballs if you please and parmesan/herbs to garnish.

Buon appetito!

Soup's ready!
Soup’s ready!

4 thoughts on “Vegetarian for Carnivores – Italian Hotpot”

  1. Yum! This soup is great and so easy! I really like the fennel in it. Will definitely be cooking this one again. Thanks Liam 🙂

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