Does anything sound better than a warm, rustic bread soup on a cold winter night?  This vegetable soup recipe becomes a little heartier with the addition of bread cubes near the end of cooking.  The bread thickens the soup and soaks up all of that beautiful tomato, vegetable filled broth.  It will warm your bones... finally a comfort food that is actually healthy.

Rustic Italian Vegetable & Bread Soup

1/4 pound of bacon, cubed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of onions, 1/2 inch dice
2 cups of carrots, 1/2 inch dice
2 cups of celery, 1/2 inch dice
6 cloves of garlic, minced 
6 cups of chicken stock
1 - 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes
4 cups of cabbage, shredded
3 cups of spinach
4 cups of bread cubes
salt & pepper
1/2 cup of fresh basil, torn (plus more for garnish)
parmesan cheese

In a large stock pot, cook bacon in olive oil, then add onion, carrots and celery.  Cook for about 4 minutes until they are tender.  Add minced garlic and cook for one minute.  Add chicken stock (may need more or less depending on desired consistency).  Add tomatoes one at a time, but crushing them (squeezing) into the pot.  Bring to a simmer.  Add the cabbage, spinach and salt & pepper.  Cook for 10-15 minutes.  Add bread cubes.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Served garnished with basil & parmesan.