Hearty Vegetable Soup

Do you have an easy vegetable soup recipe?  Is it one that your family asks for over and over?

I try to make vegetable soup at least once a month during the fall and winter.  It may take a few minutes to prepare but it’s easy to make and worth the effort. I find that it tastes even better the next day after the flavours have had a chance to mingle. My daughter’s office is fairly close to my place and she loves to drop in and have a steaming bowl of soup for lunch or before her long commute home.

I don’t usually use a recipe but some of my friends have been asking for one. When I made it the other day I actually measured the ingredients as I threw them in the pot.  Enjoy!

Marion’s Vegetable Soup

Gather these ingredients together:

  • 1 large cooking onion
  • 3 medium size carrots
  • 1 large leek
  • 2 medium size stalks celery
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/4 small green cabbage
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter (I don’t use margarine)
  • 1 28 oz. tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. ketchup (I use Heinz)
  • 2 vegetable broth cubes cubes (I use Italissimo, Knorr or Maggi)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried basil flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano flakes
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/2 c. tiny bowtie or other pasta  

To get started:

  • Chop into small dice ~  the onion, leek, carrots, celery, cabbage, and red pepper (Sometimes I use the food processor if I’m in a hurry. I find that I don’t get the same consistency of sizes that I do when I hand chop, however it does not affect the texture but rather the amount of time it takes to cook the vegetables and the appearance…but seriously…no one would know the difference or care as long as they get to enjoy your delicious homemade soup.)
  • Melt the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large dutch oven or soup pot
  • Add the onion and leek and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes until almost tender (do not brown)
  • Add the carrots, celery, cabbage, and red pepper. Continue to saute for another 3 or 4 mintues
  • Stir in all of the other ingredients except the pasta, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Bring to a boil and add the pasta.  Lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more until the pasta is tender.
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Remove from heat and serve or cool and refrigerate.

Serve with cheese biscuits, focaccia, or saltine crackers and lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Notes for beginning cooks:

Place a paper towel, dampened with a little water, underneath your chopping board to stop it from slipping.

Peel the onion and discard the outer skin before chopping.

Wash and peel the carrots before chopping.

Wash and cut the red pepper in half and discard the seeds.  Chop with the skin side face-down on the cutting board so that it is easy to cut through it.

Use only the bottom part of the leek…for example all of the white and about 1 inch of the green…and discard the rest. Cut the leek in half lengthwise and rinse between the layers to get any sand out.

Cut the cabbage in quarters, discard a couple of the outer leaves, rinse well, and remove the thick white core before chopping.  Save the other 3/4 cabbage for another recipe.

If you can’t find chopped tomatoes; buy whole ones and drain the liquid into the cooking pot and chop the tomatoes inside the tin by slicing up and down with a chef’s knife or place them on a chopping board and chop.  When I’m feeling really lazy, I just squish them into bits with my fingers.

Whenever you use dried herbs, put them in the palm of your hand and rub them together before adding them to the pot.  This releases the aromatic oils and adds more flavour to the soup.

A quick way to chop parsley is to gather the leaves together in one hand, hold it over the pot and cut into small flakes with a pair of scissors.  I don’t use the thick stems.

You do not need to add pasta to this soup but I like the way it gives it more body and nutrition.  Sometimes I substitute chopped, peeled potatoes or orzo.

Marion's Hearty Vegetable Soup

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