“Here’s a speedy and satisfying version of traditional minestrone soup. The fun polka-dot shapes of the couscous, baby carrots and black beans give this stew its name.”
-Teagan O'Toole, Boston, Massachusetts
This robust chili from the USA Rice Federation teams rice and kidney and pinto beans with a variety of colorful vegetables for a hearty meatless meal that's great tasting and good for you.—USA Rice Council, Houston, Texas
Brimming with a harvest of garden bounty, this quick-to-fix soup from Heather Ryan of Brown Dee, Wisconsin is fresh-tasting and nutritious. The tomato-based broth is chock-full of everything from carrots and zucchini to garbanzo beans and elbow macaroni.
I came up with a cheddar cheese soup a while ago and decided to give it a boost with a variety of root vegetables. Crushed pita chips and fresh parsley make fun garnishes. —Patricia Harmon, Baden, Pennsylvania
Natalie Cataldo relies on store-bought pesto to provide mild flavor to this chunky tortellini and vegetable soup. "It's a hit in my house," says the Des Moines, Iowa cook. "If you don't like zucchini, use another vegetable," she suggests.
Meet the Cook: I started making my chili back when we lived near a huge farmers' market that sold all sorts of vegetables. Be as creative as you like with ingredients.
My husband loves chili, and this is a nice change from the traditional type. I've always enjoyed cooking - I grew up in a family with five girls. These days, I can count on our own youngsters (they're 4 and 2) to help me out!
-Judy Sloter, Charles City, Iowa
"This flavorful soup tastes so fresh you'll never know it's been frozen," says Elizabeth Moore of Frankfort, Kentucky. You can easily double the recipe when tomatoes are plentiful or toss in extra vegetables from your garden. For heartier fare, beef it up with ground beef, sausage or meatballs.