What I love about soup is that it’s never the same. Making soup is such a creative process as you add or subtract ingredients according to what you have on hand. Soup can turn out differently each time you make it and still taste delicious.
This is a humble recipe that my mother made often. She said she got it from a radio show during the Great Depression when everyone was living off the produce they grew in their home gardens. (I have no idea who Dr. Springer was.) When I was growing up this soup was always served with a peanut butter sandwich on the side, and I still think that’s a delicious combination.
This recipe makes a simple, satisfying vegetable soup with minimal ingredients that should be in every kitchen. It is fine as is, or the recipe can be used as a base for a more elaborate soup by using any of the Tips for Making Vegetable Soup.* I hope you like it.
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 – 4 carrots, sliced
3 – 4 stalks celery, sliced
3 – 4 potatoes, peeled and 1 inch cubed
1 qt. stewed tomatoes
Saute chopped onions in olive oil for about two minutes.
Add all other ingredients and enough water to cover the vegetables by 2 inches. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
*Tips for Making Vegetable Soup:
_Add some carrot pulp (leftover from juicing) to soup for more fiber.
_Thicken soup easily with instant mashed potato flakes.
_Always add enough water or broth to cover the vegetables by at least 2 inches.
_Some cubed pumpkin or squash may be added along with the vegetables for even more nutrition to tomato-based soups without altering the flavor too much.
_With a submersible stick blender, puree half the soup for dairy-free cream of vegetable soup.
_Another way to make a creamy vegetable soup is to puree a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans and add it to the broth along with the vegetables.
_Add chopped sea vegetables (kombu or nori) for additional flavor and minerals.
_ Saute onion in a little oil as the first step to add flavor and creaminess.
_Chopped garlic is a flavorful addition to most soups.
_When the soup is done check the seasoning and make appropriate adjustments.
_For more protein 1/2 cup dried lentils or split peas can be added along with the raw vegetables (no presoaking necessary for these small legumes). Red lentils add additional creaminess to the broth.
_Drained and rinsed canned larger beans (kidney, black, navy, pinto, pinto, or lima) can be added along with the vegetables. Dried beans, however, must be presoaked and cooked before they can be added to a vegetable soup.
_Nutritional yeast will add a hint of cheese flavor and a healthy dose of B12, so important for vegans.
_ 1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or red wine vinegar will make all the flavors pop 🙂
_Finally, at the end of cooking soup you may add any leftover cooked vegetables, rice, or pasta that have accumulated in your refrigerator over the past few days. This adds taste and variety and is a thrifty and creative way to use leftovers.