Nothing hits the spot quite like a bowl of cozy and comforting vegetable soup filled with an array of colorful veggies, a good pinch of seasoning and the finishing touch of fresh herbs!
Vegetable Soup, Deliciously Healthy and Simple
I was never one of those kids that didn't eat their veggies, funny enough. I've always actually quite enjoyed them, crunching and munching on them whether cooked or raw!
I grew up eating homemade vegetable soup prepared by my mom's loving hands, and always enjoyed every soothing bite. It was filled with whatever vegetables she had on hand that she wanted to make sure to use up while they were still fresh, as well as lots of herbs and seasonings.
And even though that delicious vegetable soup was pretty basic, made without the addition of any meat and simmered in a basic broth, little was quite as comforting and enjoyable as a nice, big bowl of it with some warm bread on the side.
So naturally, soothing, comforting and healthy vegetable soup has always been one of my favorite soups. A favorite because it is loaded with all sorts of wonderfully colorful veggies gently simmered in a light yet gloriously flavorful broth—so belly warming and healthy, two of the best possible combinations.
This simple little meal always lifted my spirits!
How to Make Vegetable Soup
The beauty of a vegetable soup recipe is that it truly is deliciously healthy and simple, made pretty much with whatever vegetables one has on hand.
It's a stellar way to make tasty use of the veggies that are begging to be used up in that veggie drawer in the fridge!
And since a good vegetable soup needs not much more than an array of vegetables, some rich vegetable stock or broth (you can even use chicken stock or chicken broth for more flavor), a couple of good pinches of seasoning, and a fresh, colorful and a flavorful sprinkle of fresh herbs to finish. It typically only takes about 20 minutes to whip up, which means you'll be enjoying it in no time.
Vegetable soup is ideal as a quick and healthy meal that doesn't require much muss or fuss, only the time it takes to roughly chop things up and simmer just until everything is tender yet still has a bit of crispness.
The steps are simple:
- Cut your desired vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces. Some wonderful veggies to use are carrots, celery, leek, parsnips, rutabaga, kale, tomatoes, peas and corn—you can be as creative as you'd like!
- Place a medium to large-size soup pot over medium-high heat, and add in a little of both olive oil and butter, as this will give the vegetable soup some added flavor and depth.
- Saute the hard vegetables such as carrots, celery, parsnip along with aromatics like leeks, garlic or onion for a few minutes in the oil and butter, just until they begin to soften slightly. Then, sprinkle in your seasonings such as a pinch of dried herbs. You can also add in diced tomatoes at this time if you are using them.
- Add your stock or broth (either vegetable or chicken—your choice), and simmer for about 15-20 minutes with your lid askew or covering, just until the veggies are tender yet still have a bit of bite to them.
- At the end, with the heat off, stir in any leafy veggies such as kale or spinach, along with any peas or corn and fresh herbs, as they will easily wilt and/or warm up in the hot liquid. I even like to add a squeeze of lemon to brighten things up as well.
- Then, simply ladle into bowls, and enjoy!
Tips & Tidbits for Vegetable Soup:
- Choose your veggies: You can get as creative as you'd like here—use the veggies that are your favorite! I personally love the combination of earthy, sweet and savory flavors when choosing my veggies; I like to use carrots, parsnips, leeks, kale, and diced tomatoes to list a few.
- Combo of oil and butter for flavor: While you can certainly use only olive oil, or your preferred kind of oil, or even all butter, I like the combination of both oil and butter for added flavor and richness. This gives a little something extra to the flavor of the soup!
- Add your leafy greens and more delicate veggies at the end: While the harder veggies can withstand a good simmer, it's best to leave the kale, the herbs, and the peas and corn (if using) for last. I add these in after I've turned off the soup, as the residual heat will wilt/cook/heat through these ingredients. It will also help keep the green veggies green longer, making for a more attractive soup to serve!
- Fresh herbs: I like to use a combination of both dried herbs and fresh in my soups. I add the dried as part of the seasoning to be added in as part of the cooking process, and use the fresh herbs to serve as finishers.
- Vegetable broth or chicken broth, your choice: To make a completely vegetarian version of this soup, use vegetable broth or stock; but for a little extra flavor, use chicken broth or stock.
- A squeeze of lemon: A little squeeze of lemon will add a tiny hint of brightness to vegetable soup, or any other soup, frankly! Just a teaspoon or two will enliven things deliciously.
- Make ahead: Soup always deepens and becomes more flavorful a day or two after it's been prepared, so feel free to prep it a couple of days before you plan to serve it—it'll be delicious! (Just add the leafy greens, peas, corn, and any herbs after you have reheated it and just before serving...)
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 leeks (white part only), quartered and sliced thinly
• 3 carrots, peeled and diced small
• 3 parsnips, peeled and diced small
• 3 ribs celery, diced small
• 2 small red potatoes, peeled and diced small
• Black pepper
• 1 teaspoons dried parsley
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 (14.5 / 411 gram) can whole tomatoes, drained and seeded, and diced small
• 6 cups vegetables broth or chicken broth
• ½ cup peas
• ½ cup corn kernels
• 1 ½ cups finely chopped kale
• 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh parsley
• Small squeeze of lemon
-Place a medium-large soup pot over medium-high heat, and add in the butter and the oil; once melted together, add in the leeks, carrots, parsnips, celery and diced potatoes, plus a pinch or two of salt and black pepper, and cook those together for about 3-4 minutes, or until they begin to become slightly translucent.
-Add the Italian seasoning and the dried parsley, along with the garlic, and stir those in to incorporate; add the tomatoes followed by the vegetable or chicken stock, and bring to the boil; once boiling, reduce the heat so that the soup is gently simmering, cover, and allow to cook for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender yet have a slight bite still.
-Turn the heat off the soup, stir in the peas, kale, chopped parsley and the small squeeze of lemon, and taste to see if any additional salt/pepper is needed, and serve.