It's getting to be colder, which means it's getting to be cooking weather. I can get by in the spring and summer with salads and dips and french fries, but it's hard to buy consistently good vegetarian "winter food" without spending tons of money. (And it's impossible to buy consistently good vegetarian winter food in a midwest hospital cafeteria.)
I found VeganYumYum's minestrone recipe and adapted it, in keeping with her thought that "you do not go grocery shopping to make minestrone". Usually my tomato-based soups turn out slightly sour, but this one was great -- I think that it was the combination of no-salt canned tomatoes and the long cooking time. This is intentionally a very simple soup but you can add dried herbs (with the garlic and carrots) or fresh herbs (about 7 minutes after adding the kale) if you want.
2 T oil
2 medium yellow onions, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes, blended until smooth (do not drain before blending)
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained -- do not blend ;-)
1/2 bunch kale, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in large pot with lid over medium heat; add onions, stir, and cover. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and carrots and saute 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and potatoes, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Add mushrooms, chickpeas and 2 cups water and cook for 15 more minutes. Add kale and 2 cups water and cook for 10 minutes until potatoes are tender and kale is no longer bright green. Season to taste with salt and pepper.