When we think about spring, the first thing that comes to mind is freshness. We spring clean our homes, wash our curtains and bedding, sort out closets and get rid of clutter. Everything in our life becomes refreshing and nourishing for the soul.

The same holds true for food. When it comes to what we choose to fuel our bodies, we should try to stick to fresh, wholesome ingredients. We found this incredible soup that is sure to bring some zip to your day. It's a lot of fun to prepare and even more fun to eat.

Elizabeth Rider of recently shared her recipe for Spring Chili Soup with Zucchini & Carrot Noodles. Just looking at the picture on her blog post is enough to make your mouth water. Elizabeth incorporates vegetable noodles into her soup in place of traditional pasta. To do this, she uses a tool called a spiralizer and runs her veggies through it, making amazing "pasta" for her soup. This is a fantastic way to up the ante on your veggie intake and reduce your carbs. Sounds like a win-win to us.

This recipe offers a wide variety of healthy ingredients from fresh vegetables and organic kidney beans to cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes to give it some kick. Try coming up with your own variations by substituting the vegetables in the recipe with some of your family favorites. Amp up the heat with a little more cayenne if you like. Whatever your preference, this soup is sure to become a family favorite.

Spring Chili Soup With Zucchini & Carrot Noodles
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: about 1 hour
Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, medium diced
1 large red bell pepper, medium diced
2 small ribs celery with leafy tops, medium chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed, grated or finely chopped
¾ tablespoon ground chipotle pepper powder
2/3 cup fresh corn cut from the cob
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes with the juice, pulsed a few seconds in the food processor or broken up by hand
1 16-ounce can organic kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 quart vegetable or organic chicken stock
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 level teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit for less heat if desired)
¾ tablespoon chili powder, your choice of brand and heat level
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
½ tablespoon organic honey (preferably raw and local)

Veggies to run through spiralizer:
1 zucchini, at least 1.5 inches in diameter
1 carrot, at least 1.5 inches in diameter

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onions, red bell pepper and celery and sweat about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic, chipotle powder, corn, crushed tomatoes, kidney beans and ½ cup water. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (careful not to let the garlic burn). Add the stock, bring to a boil and let simmer 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, thyme and honey; stir well to combine. Let soup continue to cook another 10-15 minutes; check your seasonings and add additional salt and pepper if needed before serving. Reduce the burner to warm if letting the soup sit on the stove for longer than 30 minutes. Add the spiralized zucchini and carrot noodles to hot soup 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe via Elizabeth Rider

We'd love to know what you think! If you give this recipe a try, leave us a message in the comments below and let us know what veggies you chose to use. We can't wait to hear what amazing combinations you come up with.