Everyone should know how to make a great soup with little planning, keep it low cost, and with ingredients you have sitting in your fridge or pantry. Almost all soups start the same way, with water, mirepoix (the combination of carrots, onions, celery), other seasonal vegetables, and grain or protein if desired. When this is done right, you will end up with a wonderfully flavored seasonal soup that will yield a ton of servings, and will not break the bank.
This is the ratio I almost always start with for vegetable-based soup:
About 1 onion or 1 leek, 3 celery stalks, 4 carrots, 1 bay leaf, couple pinches of salt, 1 clove garlic, and about 8 cups of water.
Dice your onion, celery, carrots all about the same size. I like to keep mine about 1/4 -1/2 inch dice. Heat a stockpot over medium-low heat with a couple of tablespoons of butter or olive oil. I love the flavor butter gives to a vegetable soup! Add your Mirepoix and a good pinch of salt and sweat for a good 10 minutes. Make sure you manage your heat because you do not want to burn any of your mirepoix. These steps make all the difference in the flavor of your soup. Don’t skip the step, this step enables you to not use vegetable broth, nice cost savings as well. Add your garlic, bay leaf, water, and bring to a simmer.
That’s it, a great start to your spring vegetable soup. From here the combination is endless and I will give you a couple of ideas.
Wonderful Spring Vegetable Soup Ideas:
- russet potatoes, peas, cabbage(outer leaves only), the rind of parmesan, ground pepper.
- peas, asparagus, orzo pasta
- white beans, kale, peas, top with parmesan
- peas, farro, bacon
- tortellini, peas, kale
- fresh tomatoes, diced, green beans, basil
Great items to add for wonderful flavor: tomato paste, pesto, lemon zest, parsley, seaweed, mushrooms, and parmesan rind.
Grains/Beans – I like to par-cook grains/pasta before adding them to the soup. Remember not to overcook them during the par cooking so they do not fall apart when added at the end of cooking time. Sometimes I even keep the pasta on the side, and add it to each bowl as needed.
Canned beans or precooked meat are also a great addition at the end of cooking!
You can always make things easier for yourself by using frozen vegetables. A bag of frozen peas carrots and green beans are a perfect way to cut down on prep time.
- 1 leek, white and light green parts, or one onion
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, greenbeans, peas)
- 2-3 russet potatoes, small diced
- 1/2 cabbage, savoy, thin sliced
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 strips bacon, cooked, crumbled
- gruyere or cheddar cheese
In a large stockpot over medium heat, sweat the leeks/onions and a pinch of salt in 2 tablespoons butter for about 10 minutes.
Add the vegetable/chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes, increase the heat, and cook soup at a gentle boil for about 10 minutes.
Add the bag of frozen mixed vegetables and cabbage and simmer for 10 more minutes. If desired stir the pot to break up potatoes to thicken the soup. Adjust seasoning.
Top with toasted baguette, cheese, parsley, and bacon.
Cook Well, Eat Well, Live Well