Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Vegetable Soup

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:

1st batch:

1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed

3-4 carrots, peeled, sliced thin

3 parsnips. Peeled, sliced thin

Add broth, see list below

2nd Batch

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

3rd batch

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.


  1. How exciting, the kitchen looks beautiful! The soup looks tasty too

  2. I love your kitchen! I'd love one just like it.

    I could eat this soup all year round!

    1. Ah, thanks Maureen! I am sure you will get yours one day. I never thought I would have a kitchen like this!! I will show some more pics once it is really done. Finishing tiles this week and getting new drawer fronts since they miss drilled for the pulls :-( Next week we should have at least one more light in and then...ta da- new Kitchen complete!

  3. Wow, the kitchen looks fantastic!! I can't wait to see the backsplash because it really makes the counters pop even more. I love the soup... it's great to have something that freeze well. Have a happy 4th!!

    1. Thank you Ramona! We are hoping to get backsplash done this week. But the majority of the glass tiles are up and I feel like they really do round out the look.
      Hope you enjoy the soup and that you are having a wonderful summer.
      We ended up having people over today, even though are house is full of boxes and I don't know where most of the serving and baking dishes are right now :-)But I get to cook and that makes me happy.

  4. Your kitchen is looking great and thank you for another delicious recipe.

  5. I am glad you like the kitchen and the soup. We had our first dinner party here tonight even though it is not done and most of my dishes are packed away. But the party just sort of happened and I am glad it did :-) Have a great week and thanks for stopping by and expecially for commenting! It means so much to me!