I love soup year round, but in summer months I prefer something light and a bit faster to cook than some simmer-all- day winter soups. I also find my veggie bins filled to overflowing with all the great summer produce from farms, gardens and markets. This soup is a great way to use up some of those vegetables like those last couple zucchinis or the left over cabbage from the coleslaw you made. You can choose any vegetables you would like to include. I like to add them in batches according to how long they each cook so just add any others in wherever they fit best.
One time saving, flavor building twist is to add V-8 or plain tomato juice. Of course, you could easily skip this but I love the spicy, tomato-y tang it adds.
I make this soup in bigger batches because it keeps well in the fridge and freezes well, too.
By the way, my kitchen is almost done and I posted a sneak peek photo at the end of this post.
Summer Vegetable Soup
1 large onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Choose as many vegetables as you would like and add in the order given:
1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed
3-4 carrots, peeled, sliced thin
3 parsnips. Peeled, sliced thin
Add broth, see list below
Half a small green cabbage, sliced into slivers then cut till they are about 1 ½ inches long
1 cup green beans, washed and trimmed, cut into bite sized pieces
2 zucchini and/or yellow summer squash. Cut in half lengthwise and sliced into half moons
½ head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 can tomatoes. Diced or fire roasted
1 small bell pepper, any color, diced
3 celery stalks, sliced
Any other veggies you have on hand such as potato, leeks, fennel, spinach, kale, peas, corn or mixed vegetables.
1-2 cans kidney beans, red and/or white
About 4 cups of low sodium, organic vegetable broth or any good broth of choice
About 2-3 cups spicy or low sodium V-8 OR plain tomato juice Or sm. can tomato sauce (optional)
1 tsp. Italian herb blend
½ tsp garlic powder and/or onion powder
Pinch of crushed red pepper, and or cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra water as needed to keep things broth-y
Start by cutting onions in half and cutting into slivers. Cut the slivers in half-ish. You can just chop the onions if you prefer. In a large pot ( 6-8 quart) heat the olive oil on medium low and add onions, Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring now and then. Add garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.
Choose as many vegetables from the above list as you would like and of course, feel free to substitute others. I add the vegetables that take the longest to cook first. So let’s say I am using carrots and parsnips. I add these, along with a bit more oil if needed, to the onion to begin to brown and caramelize a bit- not much- just a bit. After sautéing them for about 5 minutes, I add canned tomatoes and broth ingredients.
At this point, after sautéing 1st batch for about 5 minutes, I usually add in canned tomatoes and broth and let it all simmer for about 20 minutes or until just beginning to be tender.
After 20 minutes, add the 2nd batch of veggies and simmer for 5 minutes and then add the last group of quick cooking vegetables and kidney beans and simmer for at least 15 minutes. For best results, I simmer everything on low for more like 20-30 minutes.
This soup can be served as it is with some crusty bread or a salad or try these variations—
Add a dollop of hot polenta in the center of the bowl
Cook some macaroni and add it to a pot of this veggie soup. You could also cook some ground beef to add in.
If you have left overs, pack them up in smaller serving size containers and freeze a few for lunches.