Quick And Easy Vegetable Bean Soup

I've been making variations of this simple but delicious soup for years. I tend to change the herbs and spices every time I make it, and sometimes use a couple of teaspoons of dried oregano in place of the cumin and coriander, add in some cooked pasta, and voilà, a simple Italian restaurant-style minestrone is ready to serve. When I'm rushed I'll often use high-quality frozen organic vegetables instead of fresh. There's absolutely no reason not to. I use only Thomas Utopia or Ontario Natural canned organic tomatoes; both are Ontario products packed in BPA-free cans.

This nourishing soup can also be turned into a Tex-Mex meal in a bowl. Place helpings of shredded cheddar, Greek yogurt or sour cream, chopped green onions, and crumbled organic tortilla chips at the centre of the table for hearty and scrumptious add-ins that your tablemates (including kids) will love.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 tbsp grapeseed oil or extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp ground cayenne, optional

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 can (796 mL43) diced tomatoes

1 can (398 mL) kidney beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 cups coarsely chopped vegetables (your choice), fresh or frozen (do not thaw if using frozen)

In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the broth, tomatoes and beans. Bring the liquid to a boil. Stir in the vegetables and return the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the vegetables are tender-crisp (or the frozen vegetables are heated through), about 10 minutes.