Tofu Cabbage Vegetable Soup

Soup is so good for you! It warms your insides and comforts your soul.

A cookbook, Recipes between Friends* published by Pasco County Florida Libraries, included a vegetable soup with just the right amount of vegetables and broth that makes it easily modified. I have adapted the base of this soup many times with great success. The original soup was contributed to the cookbook by Denise Belasic’s and is titled Garden Vegetable Soup.

My version includes tofu as well as fresh broccoli, and cherry tomatoes from my garden. The great thing about this soup is that it is low-calorie, full of delicious healthy vegetables, and so satisfying! As autumn gets underway, try my version of this soup. Let me know what you think by commenting on my blog!

— Carole


2 large carrots, 1 small onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 celery stalks, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 4 cups of vegetable broth, 2 cups of cabbage chopped, 3/4 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes, 7 oz firm tofu cut is edible pieces, 3/4 cup of cooked Jasmine rice, 1/2 teaspoon of basil, oregano, 1/2 cup of small broccoli flowers and stems. Sprinkle dried red pepper to taste.

Directions: (slightly modified from Denise Belasic’s original recipe)

  • In a 3-quart saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the carrot, onion, garlic, and celery under low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add broth, cabbage, tomatoes, tofu, Jasmine rice, basil oregano, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli and cook for 5 minutes until tender. Serve hot.
  • Sprinkle with dried red pepper and add salt if desired. I find that most broth is salty enough.

Recipe between Friends can be purchased by emailing Kiersten Backus Cost $20.00 A fabulous layout, great recipes, and fun holiday gift!

Scaloda Soup

My loving grandmother, Sebastiana, lived in a two-story house on Liberty Street in Middletown, Connecticut. Born in Sicily, she came to the United States with her new husband, had a daughter and a son (my father), and 6 granddaughters. Visits with her were joyful, boisterous occasions where her small kitchen managed to fit us all. Together we enjoyed her delicious homemade pasta, soup, and vegetable dishes.

One of my favorite dishes she prepared for us included a green leafy vegetable she called “scaloda” which is actually escarole. She added escarole to cannellini beans, vegetables & a pasta broth resulting in a slightly creamy, soft soup. The taste of escarole is what makes this soup special. Many cooks have variations of it, but the recipe below is my version reproduced from my memory. It is also listed in the menu under Vegetarian/Vegan Soup. It’s a great quick comfort soup! Try it and let me know what you think! — Carole

Scaloda Bean Soup from Memory — by Carole


1/2 onion chopped, 1 celery stick chopped, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 can 19oz cannellini white kidney beans (I like Progresso), 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, 4 tablespoons of orzo*, and two large handfuls of fresh roughly chopped escarole, 1/4 cup of romano cheese (I prefer BelGioioso).

*Some people like more orzo in their soup than I recommend, but add it sparingly as too much orzo can absorb most if not all of the broth.


In a 3 quart pan, under medium heat, warm the olive oil and then add the chopped onions and celery. Once the onions are translucent, add the cannellini beans. Mash the beans a little in the pan then add the broth. I use 4 tablespoons of powdered vegetable mix available at our local coop and stir it into 4 cups of cold water.

Once the broth begins to warm up, add the orzo. Cook the soup until the orzo is soft. Then add large handfuls of escarole, stir and cook until it is soft (but not soggy). This takes just a few minutes. Shut off the stove and pour into soup bowls. Top with romano cheese and fresh black pepper. Serve with crusty sourdough bread. Watching this video may be helpful.

The Paris Library

Did you know that during WWII, the librarians at The American Library in Paris delivered books to their forbidden Jewish patrons right under the noses of their German occupiers?

This captivating novel, The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles is filled with wartime suspense, the nuances of friendship, romance, betrayal, and fascinating historical information about The American Library in Paris.

Much to my delight, it also had plenty of French food mentions!

The Library of Paris begins in 1939 when Odile Souchet, a young Parisian, applies and is hired for her dream job as a librarian at The American Library in Paris. With the war underway, Odile, her family, community of colleagues, and friends increasingly face the turmoil of France’s Nazi occupation. Her brother, Remy, enlists in the war and Paris becomes increasingly repressive. The public library is under constant scrutiny. In spite of this authoritarian environment, the librarians commit to the continuation of promoting free ideas by remaining open and even secretly delivering books to Jewish patrons no longer allowed to come to the library.

Throughout The Paris Library, the plot also weaves the reader into another time and place. Lily is a teenager living in Montana in 1983. A French language and culture enthusiast, Lily is fascinated by her widowed French neighbor Mrs. Gustafason, the future Odile. Lily and Odile become fast friends as Lily begins language lessons and Odile’s secret past unravels. The two form an intimate bond that allows Odile to help Lily navigate changing family life and jealousy in friendship. Likewise, Lily encourages Odile to reconnect with her past.

I want to thank my cousin Amy Chapman Biegaj. She messaged me this spring and suggested that I read The Paris Library. I am so grateful to her for the recommendation!

As always, I am including a recipe to accompany this novel. It is a Leek and Potato Soup that I made while reading The Paris Library. Surprisingly, this soup was tasty especially topped with fresh chives from our spring garden.

Leek and Potato soup is known as a diet food for French women. This morning when I got up, I could have sworn I felt several pounds lighter! — πŸ˜‰ Carole

Once Upon a Chef – Potato Leek Soup

The Paris Library Book Club Questions and Food Ideas

Janet Skeslien Charles: The Paris Library – Author Interview (a terrific interview)