Makes 10 to 12 cups (serving size is 2 to 3 cups)
2 tsp. olive oil
1 ¼ lbs. lean ground beef, turkey or chopped chicken*
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large red, orange and/or green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large zucchini or yellow squash, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 bottle (46 oz.) reduced-sodium tomato or vegetable cocktail juice
1 can (15 oz.) pinto, garbanzo or black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 Tbs. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
¼ cup each fresh cilantro and parsley leaves, chopped
1. In sauce pot over medium-high heat, cook oil 30 seconds or until heated.
2. Add beef, turkey or chicken and cook 5 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from skillet; drain, if desired.
4. In same sauce pot, cook onions, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and garlic for 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
5. Stir in next 6 ingredients and cooked meat.
6. Add up to 1 cup water to thin soup, if desired.
7. Cover and bring soup just to a simmer (do not let boil).
8. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Stir in cilantro and parsley; cover and let simmer 5 minutes more.
Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired. Soup can be stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator or frozen for 2-3 weeks.
*Or for vegetarian option, omit meat and add another can of beans.