This "Zucchini Beef Soup" is a great way to use that garden fresh zucchini! It has a distinct Italian flavor that zucchini is just made for, because it takes on the flavors you blend with it. This soup is fresh and even though it does have some beef in it, it's still rather light. Soup may seem odd for summer months, but we actually eat some soups all year long and this one is so healthy and nutritious it is just an all around winner. Here is what you will need for this:
1 lb. ground chuck
2 celery ribs, sliced thin
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced (I prefer Vidalia)
1/2 cup sweet bell pepper, diced (red or green)
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes (could use the same amount of peeled fresh tomatoes)
1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups zucchini, diced rather large
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Brown ground chuck with onion, bell pepper and celery. Drain any excess grease. Add all other other ingredients, except the zucchini. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and cook for about 30 minutes on medium/low heat. Add the zucchini and cook for about 20 more minutes or just until the zucchini is crisp tender. You want the zucchini to still have a little bite to it, because it tends to get mushy if overcooked.
You can serve this with fresh grated Parmesan cheese or sprinkled with some fresh chopped fresh basil, green onions, or chives...just whatever you prefer. This would also be great with Aunt Vel's Sour Cream Cornbread or Cornbread Hoe Cakes ! Click on the recipe titles and it takes you to the recipes for the breads!