A vegetable soup is a delicious lunch and also a brilliant way to use up leftover vegetables, cooked or raw. Even those forgotten vegetables in your fridge that are past their best can still be used up in a soup. People have been making soup for thousands of years, without a recipe. I have though provided a basic recipe at the bottom of this page to help you make an easy vegetable soup from scratch. You can make your vegetable soup chunky or smooth and thick. Each one will look and taste different, which is one of the real beauties of a homemade soup.
The Basics for a Soup
In order to make a vegetable soup from your leftovers, there are a few basic suggestions that will help you. Firstly, start off by frying an onion in a little oil or butter. Almost all soups start with an onion. It provides good flavour to build on. If you want a thick vegetable soup, add some diced potato. Once it is cooked you can blitz or mash the potato chunks to help thicken the soup. Add in any other vegetables. Cut them to a similar size so they cook at roughly the same time. I recommend small chunks of no more than 2cm x 2cm.
It's a good idea to let the vegetables 'steam' for a few minutes. Make sure there is some oil in the bottom of your pan so they don't stick or burn to the bottom. Cover with a lid and steam for about 5 minutes. Add in some hot stock and season with salt and pepper. You need enough stock so the vegetables are just about covered. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Once cooked, you can put all or part of your soup through a food processor, or mash with a potato masher or leave it as is. Always taste your soup before serving to check the seasoning.
What are the best vegetables to put in a soup?
A soup will work with most vegetables. Root vegetables such as carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato, swede, turnip, parsnip, potato etc work well. You should be aware that the brassicas such as cabbage, sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower will give off a slightly sulphorous smell. You can still use these vegetables, but try not to overcook them. Mushrooms also make a good soup and this is a good way to use them up if they are past their best. Leeks and tomatoes are common in soups. If you're looking to make your soup go further, you could add some pulses such as kideny beans or a drained tin of mixed beans. Dried red lentils are also good as they don't take too long to cook. The Italians add small pasta shapes to their soup to make it go further.
What can I add to vegetable soup for extra flavour?
All vegetable soups will look and taste different. It depends on how much of any particular vegetable you have added. A vegetable soup with a lot of parsnips for example, will have a slightly sweet flavour. I would always recommend checking the seasoning with salt and pepper first as this can make a big difference if you think your soup is a little bland. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall suggests adding a few teaspoons of curry powder for an extra kick. Paprika or chilli powder would also help spice it up. Always add any spices a little at a time! Adding a little milk or cream will give a creamier texture and help to thicken it.
How to store Vegetable Soup
Soup can be stored in the fridge for 2 - 3 days. You can freeze it for 4 - 6 months. Up until about the 6 month mark the quality and texture will still be good. After this time, it will still be good to eat but you might notice a slight change to the taste or texture. Soup made from leftovers is a great lunch option. Always reheat soups until they are piping hot.
I made this Vegetable Soup below from the leftovers from my Winter Vegetable Stew Recipe. I just put it all through a blender and had this soup for lunch the next day.
How to make any Vegetable Soup
- 2 tablespoon olive oil organic, fairtrade
- 1 onion, peeled & chopped
- 300 g potatoes, peeled & diced Potatoes will thicken a vegetable soup nicely
- 600 g any vegetables, peeled & chopped
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash freshly ground black pepper organic, fairtrade
- Add the oil and onion to a large pan and fry over a medium heat until soft
- Add the other vegetables and fry for 3 - 4 minutes. Put a lid on your pan and let them sweat for 5 minutes.
- Pour over enough stock to cover the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. until the vegetables are soft.
- Leave the soup to cool a little then blend with a hand blender or mash using a potato masher or fork.
Nutrition per serving
The Nutritional Values are computer generated estimates based on industry standards and are provided as a helpful guide only.