Eat your veggies! How often do we hear this? I know it can be easier said than done but if you have a go-to easy vegetable soup recipe that you can keep for 3 or 4 days in the fridge I guarantee you’ll eat more veggies.
The trick to eating lots of vegetables is to make sure they are ready-made and tasty. Making a big pot of this easy vegetable soup recipe is a simple solution to boosting your veggie consumption. You can even eat it for snack or breakfast (I just had it this morning with a piece of sprouted whole grain bread dipped in hemp seed oil!)
Everybody Loves Vegetable Soup…Even the Kids!
Growing up my mom was always very into making homemade vegetable soup. It seems like we had it at least once a week. I wasn’t really a big veggie eater as a kid, but you could always get me to eat my mom’s homemade vegetable soup. Vegetable soup, especially if it’s homemade, is just one of those foods that you sorta can’t not like.
Mom was super thrifty when it came to not wasting food (she’s still like this!) and so making vegetable soup was a great way to “use up” whatever vegetables she had on hand… basically any vegetable in the fridge made its way into her soup. And yet strangely enough, mom’s soup always tasted more or less the same (I still don’t exactly have a good explanation for this?)
Mom’s Secret To Making Rich-Tasting Vegetable Soup
One thing I learned from mom was that the secret to a rich-tasting and satisfying soup was to sauté the vegetables in layers. You can’t just throw all the veggies in a pot of broth and expect your soup to taste good! You have to take the little bit of extra time it takes to sauté your vegetables.
For the best flavor you should also layer your salt. And by the way, did you know you actually end up needing less salt this way?
I even like to layer my oil because by the time I add my greens (in this soup I use collards, and lots of them!), the vegetables I start with have already soaked up all the oil. In the easy vegetable soup recipe below I experimented a little and decided to use both extra virgin olive oil AND coconut oil. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure the coconut oil would taste all that great but I was very pleasantly surprised with the end result. Instead of giving the soup a tropical taste, which is what I was afraid it would do— and not at all the flavor I was going for, instead the coconut oil gave it a light, ever so slightly sweet flavor, which was actually perfect for toning down the collard greens.
To add a bit of “zing” to my easy vegetable soup recipe I borrowed a tip from my good friend Claudia. She pretty much orders soup every time we go out to eat and the first thing she does is ask the waiter to bring her a big plate of lemon wedges. She squeezes every last drop of lemon juice into any and every soup. I thought this was a little bizzare when I first saw her do it, but I’m hooked on the lemons-in-my-soup thing now too because they really do add a very bright and lively special something-something.
Simple Stir-In Ideas for Your Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe
A lot of times I eat my vegetable soup as-is sort of like a side dish. But sometimes I make it the main event (especially for lunch) simply by stirring in just 1 or 2 of the following ingredients and make it more like a minestrone:
• Frozen organic corn kernels, thawed
• Frozen organic petite peas, thawed
• Cooked quinoa
• Cooked brown rice (I like short grain brown rice in my soup)
• Cooked black rice
• Cooked barley
• Cooked millet
• Garbanzo beans
• Cannellini beans
• Cooked whole wheat elbow macaroni (note: you can cook the macaroni right in with the soup if you add a bit more broth and lemon juice)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 1 large leek, finely chopped
- Unrefined sea salt, to taste (such as Real Salt)
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 bunch collards (about 4 cups), chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil (such as Barlean’s)
- Juice from 1 whole lemon
- 1 large can (28 ounces) organic diced tomatoes (or look for BPA-free Pomi Tomatoes in a soft-box)
- 4 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Pacific Natural Foods)
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add the garlic, onion and leek and sauté until onions and leeks are soft, about 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt.
- Add the fennel and sauté 2-3 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the bell pepper and carrots and sauté 2-3 minutes, until soft. Sprinkle vegetables with oregano.
- Add the collards and extra virgin coconut oil and sauté until greens are deep green and tender. Add the lemon juice and tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Season lightly with salt.
- Add the vegetable broth. Simmer soup for 15 minutes over low heat. Serve warm.