I know, I know, Groundhog Day, yadda yadda yadda. Look, I don’t care how much longer winter lasts, as long as I can make this soup a few more times before it gets too warm.
My Winter Vegetable Soup offers a hint of sweetness from butternut squash and sherry, a nice streak of green from the escarole, and the crunchy-chewy pop of wheatberries. When made with vegetable broth it’s vegetarian; skip the Parmesan rind and it’s vegan. No added fat, either, so it’s uber-healthy (though it doesn’t taste that way).
If all that’s not enough to intrigue you, this oughta seal the deal: This recipe requires almost no work, and absolutely no attention. Toss it in the slow cooker in the morning, do your thing all day, and come home to a hearty bowl of wintry soup.
Slow Cooker Winter Vegetable Soup
3 cups peeled and diced butternut squash, about 1 1/2 pounds (it’s fine to use the pre-peeled chunks from the produce section)
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 head escarole, cut into ribbons (kale would work here, too)
1 large shallot or 1 small onion, diced
3/4 cup wheatberries (or farro or barley)
6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry sherry
One 2-inch Parmesan rind, optional
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Salt & pepper
- Combine everything in the insert of your slow cooker. The amount of salt needed will depend on your broth—start at 1/2 teaspoon.
- Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours. Stir in the chickpeas and let them warm through while you set the table (shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes). Taste, and adjust seasoning.
- Remove Parmesan rind, if you used one, and spread it on crusty bread as the chef’s treat!
MAKE BABY FOOD: Generally speaking, soups puree nicely—use mostly solids, with enough of the broth to thin it. The sherry used has alcohol, yes. But it’s just 1/2 cup for the entire recipe and with the long simmering time, at least 95% of the alcohol will have cooked off. I would’ve given this soup to Harry without hesitation, but that’s a personal decision. If you have any concerns at all, substitute apple juice!