*I use Applegate brand chicken & turkey sausage and have also used their sweet Italian and spinach and feta sausage in this recipe. You could substitute your favorite pork sausage or one of the increasingly popular vegan alternatives for a meatless meal. For those who desire a vegan soup, Myra recommends Beyond Meat’s Brat Original, and I’ve also heard that Field Roast’s vegan sausage is quite good.
**I’ve made this soup with and without the green beans, so don’t go out of your way if you don’t have them on hand or simply don’t enjoy them. If using fresh, string and cut into bite-size pieces. When using frozen, I preferred chopped beans to whole and have found the texture to be more appealing when added in the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
***I use 2 cartons of Pacific’s low-sodium vegetable broth; you could substitute chicken broth if preferred.
A few more tips:
•Myra at Lemon Street regularly doubles the recipe for a larger yield and says it freezes well.
•For more flavor in every bite (and fewer big chunks that picky eaters might avoid), I like to dice the veggies fairly small.
•If you have a Parmesan rind on hand, toss that into the pot, too. Garlic lovers could add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, or more to taste.
One more thing:
The dump-and-cook approach used in this recipe holds special appeal, and this soup doesn’t suffer much for the streamlined approach. For an added layer of flavor, however, you can start by heating 1½-2 tablespoons olive oil in the pot and sautéing the onion for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent. Then add the carrots and celery, sautéing for another 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin and oregano – this will allow the spices to “bloom” and coax out more flavor – and the sausage. Sauté a few minutes more – just enough to lightly sear the sausage – and THEN dump everything else into the pot and proceed as directed.