Skip to main content

Fall is soup weather: How to turn any veg into a great soup

One of the best things about fall and winter is all of the great comfort foods like apple pie, pot roast, and pear salad. At the very top of the list, at least in our opinion, is certainly soup. Nothing takes the chill out of a cold day better than a big bowl of homemade soup, be it chicken noodle, gazpacho, french onion, broccoli and cheddar, or any of your favorite varieties.

When it comes to mastering the basics, however, we recommend starting with vegetable soups. These are super simple to make, and all you need are some fresh vegetables from the refrigerator and a can of broth from the pantry. With these simple ingredients, you can mix and match to create whatever medley you desire.

Related Videos
root vegetables gardening ideas
Cary Bates/Shuttertstock

What kind of vegetables make great soups?

From asparagus to zucchini and every other letter in the vegetable alphabet, any of your favorites can star in a very tasty soup. Provided you like its flavor, just about any vegetable can contribute to a hearty, delicious soup. Although there are methods to tone down the pungent aroma of cabbage (add a touch of lemon juice) or tame the bitterness of turnips (add cream or yogurt), there is not much you can do to disguise the basic taste of the vegetable itself.

When mixing different types of veggies, be mindful of cooking times so you don’t end with a soup that’s half undercooked and half mushy. Harder vegetables like potatoes, carrots, or butternut squash will take considerably more time than spinach, mushroom, or kale.

What does every pot of vegetable soup need?

  • Vegetables
  • Stock or water
  • Olive oil or butter
  • Salt & pepper

After the essentials, everything else is optional and dependent on your taste. The addition of aromatics, such as onion, garlic, or leeks, and some fresh herbs like thyme, parsley, chives, etc. will add a more complex flavor to your soup. As you experiment, feel free to add your favorite spices, a touch of milk or cream, or even a splash of wine.

Once the soup is done, toss in a can of beans or diced tomatoes, homemade croutons, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or a dollop of sour cream or yogurt as a finishing touch.

6 Steps for making great vegetable soup

  1. Chop: Chop about a pound of vegetables into 1-inch cubes. For hard, dense vegetables that take longer to cook, cut them into smaller pieces. 
  2. Cook: Add a little butter or olive oil to the pot and sauté the chopped veggies over low heat until they soften and become fragrant. Add about 4 cups of stock or water (see below for an easy homemade vegetable stock recipe) and simmer.
  3. Season: Add salt and pepper, spices, or dried herbs to taste.
  4. Simmer: Simmer for an hour or more, until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Finish: Serve the soup as is with the chunks of vegetables or use an immersion blender to puree it into a thicker, heartier, creamier soup — no dairy required. 
  6. Serve: Add some snippets of fresh herbs, a sprinkling of parmesan, or a handful of homemade croutons, and enjoy!

Making homemade vegetable stock 

Canned or powdered stocks are usually loaded with sodium. For a more health-conscious option, create your own vegetable stock to use for future homemade soups, sauces, and stews.

When you chop up vegetables, save the ends of the celery, the peels of the carrots, the tips of the zucchini, and the stems of the fresh herbs and refrigerate them in a plastic container. When the container is full, add the vegetable scraps to a pot, cover them with water, and simmer. Keep in mind that the longer you simmer, the stronger the flavor of your stock will be. Add salt and pepper to taste and allow the broth to cool down before straining out and composting the vegetable scraps. 

We recommend making plenty of stock at once and saving it in a small container to use later. If you don’t intend to use your leftover stock within the next week, freeze it in an ice cube tray and toss the cubes into soups or sauces when needed.

There’s no need to reach for a can in your pantry the next time you have a craving for homemade vegetable soup. Experiment with the vegetables you have on hand to create a custom flavor that your family will love. It’s easy, tasty, and a great way to celebrate the harvest season.

Editors' Recommendations

6 delectable New Year’s Eve desserts that will be the hit of the party
These desserts will leave everyone talking into the New Year
Champagne and cupcakes for a party

When New Year’s Day rolls around, millions of people start adjusting their lifestyles to align with their resolutions. Often, this means a new workout routine and eating healthier. But, New Year’s Eve is a whole other story. It's a day to indulge in something sweet, and we've got some ideas to do it right.

We’ve pulled together six decadent desserts that will help you cap off the year and get some last sweet treats in before you begin the next year. Whether you’re a novice baker or a self-described pro, you’ll find a New Year’s Eve dessert guaranteed to please your tastebuds and your fellow partygoers, too.

Read more
These easy recipes will give you the traditional Christmas dinner you crave
The best tried-and-true holiday recipes for a traditional Christmas dinner
Group of people gathered for the Christmas holiday

The holiday season is a magical time, but it also gets pretty hectic. Between shopping, wrapping, baking, and going to parties, some of the most beloved traditions can get lost in the shuffle. Trying new ways to decorate your home for the holidays or experimenting with trendy Christmas recipes is always fun, but there’s something so comforting about returning to some classic Christmas dishes.

If you’re hosting this year's holiday celebration and looking for some fresh ideas for dinner, why not look to the past? We’ve compiled some of our favorite traditional Christmas dinner ideas to make this your most merry and bright gathering ever.

Read more
A small celebration can still be special: Amazing Christmas dinner ideas for two
Wow your special someone this year with an amazing experience for two
Couple dining together at Christmas

Just because you're not having a big gathering at your house for Christmas dinner doesn't mean you can't do something special for just the two of you. A small and cozy Christmas definitely has its upsides. Less preparation, less expense, less work, and more time to concentrate on the one person who matters the most to you can make the day even more special.

If there are just two for Christmas dinner this year, you won’t need huge portions, a dozen sides, or bottles and bottles of wine, but you can still create something special and festive. We have some easy-to-make recipes and decorating suggestions that will give you the merriest Christmas dinner just for you and your special someone.

Read more