Heat a large Dutch Oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Sprinkle with a little salt. Sautefor 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, stock, tomato juice, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, and bay leaves. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
Add spinach and rice, and return just to boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add peas, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, salt, and pepper and heat thoroughly.
Remove bay leaves before serving. Garnish with a thyme spring or more fresh basil.
* I prefer to use the thinner baby carrots, usually found at the Farmer’s Markets or the organic section of your grocery store. They are sweeter and do not need to be peeled (a quick scrubbing is all they need). Usually they come with the carrot tops intact.
** Learn how easy it is to make homemade Chicken Stock - Basic Chicken Stock.
Italian Vegetable Soup with Herbs and Rice Recipe: https://whatscookingamerica.net/karencalanchini/italian-vegetablesoup.htm