There’s been an awful lot of root vegetables piling up in my fridge. With the addition of this week’s CSA box (which included celeriac, potatoes, and daikon radishes), I knew the time for a soup had come. And I wanted it to be vegetable soup.
Simple vegetable soup, where the veggies shine on their own merits. Throw in a variety of white beans for good measure and some protein, and it’s a surefire success for both vegetarians and those meat-eating barbarians we are proud to call our husbands. And of course, it’s perfect for an in-between food blogger like myself.
You see, the secret to soup that can make everyone happy is in the chew. A thin broth isn’t gonna cut it–you need to pack so many vegetables, herbs, and beans into that bowl that you need to chew your way through it. If you want to go beyond a simple vegetarian soup, add some barley for even more chewiness.
And the best part about vegetable soup is you just use whatever you’ve got. No carrots? No problem. Too many potatoes? Totally fine. It keeps it interesting, ya know?
Simple Vegetable Soup (this recipe serves roughly a million people–I’m gonna freeze half of it for a future lazy night)
- 2 T canola or olive oil
- 2 leeks, trimmed of the dark green parts and washed
- 1 onion or a few small scallions
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 small salad turnips, washed and diced
- 2 daikon radishes, peeled and diced
- 1 piece celeriac, peeled and diced
- 4-5 small potatoes, peeled and (you got it! diced)
- 4-6 small tomatoes, chopped
- 2 t fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 t dried)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 C beans (mine were uncooked but soaked overnight) + an additional 2 C water
- 6 C vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
I love making soup. Just the process of cleaning out my fridge and peeling, chopping, dicing, sautéing, and stirring feels comforting to me–probably because it reminds me of my mom.
Start the soup in the usual way–saute the onions/scallions, garlic, and leeks in the oil over medium heat in a gigantic soup pot for a few minutes until softened.
Add in the diced carrots, radish, and turnip and stir around for another few minutes to deepen their flavor.
Next, mix in the potatoes and celeriac.
And toss the beans right on top (I used a mix of lima, garbanzo, and navy beans).
Stir everything together, then add the diced tomatoes and the spices. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, a can or two of diced tomatoes would work perfectly.
Lastly, top the soup off with the broth. When using previously dried beans (mine were soaked but uncooked), you have to add some extra water to make up for what they will absorb. I started off with two extra cups (eight cups of liquid all together), and that turned out to be the perfect amount.
Also, before adding six cups of vegetable broth, make sure the soup isn’t going to be over salted! It’s better to add not enough broth and throw some in later, then end up with a super salty soup because your brand of veggie broth could make Lot’s wife jealous.
Cover the pot with the lid and bring to a simmer over medium or medium low heat. Simmer until the beans are tender (for mine, about an hour and a half for the lima beans to cook all the way through) and all the flavors are melding spectacularly.
I love a modest vegetable soup. It just feels so good going down the hatch.
Plus, it’s pretty, freezes beautifully (I’ll be going the freezer bag route), and uses up all those wrinkly vegetables languishing in the crisper.
I also love to add lots of black pepper to a soup like this, so that the last sip when you drain the bowl makes the back of your throat burn. That might just be me, though. I learned the hard way just to do that to my individual bowl so Fritz doesn’t have to suffer with me.
As a side note, every ingredient in this soup with the exception of the broth and the bay leaves was either grown by my parents (carrots and potatoes), myself (thyme and tomatoes), or my CSA farm (leeks, radish, turnips, celeriac, garlic, shallots). Cool, huh?
Oh, and isn’t this just the cutest thing ever? Fritz working hard and Henry supervising: