Chef’s Corner: Gianine’s Rainbow (Vegetable) Soup & Local Cookbook – Cary Downtown Farmers Market | Cary, North Carolina

Chef’s Corner: Gianine’s Rainbow (Vegetable) Soup & Local Cookbook

Chef’s Corner: Gianine’s Rainbow (Vegetable) Soup & Local Cookbook

Article by  Mitch Samples

Sitting on the porch this morning I realize autumn, twenty-five days past its celestial announcement, may have finally arrived.  The sky is overcast, promising not the boisterous life bringing deluges of the spring, but their more subdued cousin, a daylong bone chilling mist. The temperature will drop throughout the day presenting the prospect of a cooler tomorrow when the air will dry, and the fields will sleep as if they are dead.  In that sleep they will dream of tubers and roots, garlic and alliums; their first gifts for the following year.

All is not bleak however, and autumn will soon present its own rainbows for us to enjoy.  The riot of color our gardens once held will rise to the treetops, thunderously exclaim its presence and shout, “I am, I am, I am, I am.”.   Given this offering we can again celebrate the expanse of colors nature provides.  To honor the gift, we will be preparing Gianine’s Rainbow Soup at the market on Saturday.  It is a healthy soup celebrating autumn’s rainbow of vegetables that is sure to satisfy your soul on a chilly day.   I don’t personally know Gianine but judging from her recipe, she keeps a warm and nourishing hearth available to all in need.

Today’s recipe is from Kind Veggie Burritos, a cookbook created by area local and good friend Beth Livingston.  It’s a nationwide collection of recipes, tested and fine-tuned by Beth.  A labor of love, completely self-funded, with all proceeds after expenses donated to SEVA and The Rex Foundation, the book is still available today.  So, come on down to the Cary Downtown Farmers’ Market this Saturday, and we will talk about the weather, fall vegetables, Beth and her book, plus enjoy some of Gianine’s Rainbow Soup.

Gianine’s Rainbow Soup

Gianine Carbone, Durham, North Carolina

 As with most soups, the flavor gets better as it mellows.  This soup is great served fresh, but is even better after is has been refrigerated overnight and re-heated.

Serves 8 to 10

1 cup uncooked lentils

2-4 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion chopped

5-6 cloves garlic chopped

3 stalks celery chopped

1 large carrot chopped

1 large sweet red pepper chopped

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 medium sized rutabaga, peeled and chopped

1 lb. tender greens of choice.

1 lb. tomatoes, chopped (use juice too!)

½ cup dry red wine

¼ cup tamari

1 ½ to 2 quarts water or vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

1 Tbsp. basil

1 tsp. turmeric

¼ tsp. cayenne

¼ tsp. cinnamon


Optional veggies: chopped yellow or zucchini squash, left over broccoli stalks, peeled and chopped

In a small pot, start cooking the lentils in about 2 ½ cups water.

While lentils are cooking:

In a large soup pot, sauté onions, garlic, celery, carrot, and red pepper in olive oil for 5 to 10 minutes.  Add sweet potato, rutabaga, seasonings, tamari, wine, and water or stock.  Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 15 to 20 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and lentils with any water they haven’t absorbed.  (The lentils should be about half cooked by this time.)  Simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. Add spinach and any optional veggies.   Continue simmering until lentils are completely cooked, and all the veggies are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot.


Editor’s note: This wonderful soup is deep-down satisfying, and has made Gianine something of a legend.  The myriad of veggies make it as colorful as it is delicious.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Beth Livingston.  Kind Veggie Burritos, pg. 44.  ©Beth Livingston

Click the Kind Veggie Burritos link to learn more.

If you have any questions concerning recipes, or anything else please talk to me at the market or contact me at   As always, I am at your service.

Open Saturdays | Dec-Mar: 9a.m. - Noon | April-Nov: 8a.m. - Noon | 135 W. Chatham St., Cary, NC