Winter vegetable soup

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash
It's winter and that means my household of two subsists on a diet of soup and bread. It's my favorite meal and in my mind soup and bread is the consolation prize for winter's cold and dark weather.

When I make soup, I make it out of what I have in the pantry so my soups are never the same from week to week. The celery ends and dried out carrots are what make it into my soup pot. These "everything but the kitchen sink" soups are a great way to use up leftovers and produce that's nearing the end of its useful life.

The trick to all soups is a good base and real bases start out as bones or vegetables that get roasted in the oven at a low temperature. Once roasted, they get thrown into a pot of boiling water and they're boiled for hours. When there are no more nutrients left and the liquid's good and reduced you have stock.

When I don't have stock made ahead of time I cheat and use Better than Bouillon brand soup stock concentrate. These products do what I would do normally when they make soup bases but the condense them further than I ever could. Better than Bouillon is exactly what it says it is, better than bouillon.

I never follow recipes when I'm cooking and my work teaching other people how to cook forces me to write my recipes down. I suppose that's a good thing. I had some people over for a bread class a few weeks ago and I served a basic vegetable soup to go with out bread. Someone asked me for the recipe and I had to recreate it after the fact and that was interesting.

Anyhow, even though this is a vegetable soup that doesn't mean it has to be a vegetarian meal. I always cook chicken, prok or whatever I have on the side and add it to the soup right before I serve it. The same goes for pasta. I always make pasta seperately and that keeps it from turning to mush. So this one soup can be vegetable soup, chicken vegetable soup or chicken noodle with vegetables, depending on how you serve it. One meal become three. It's a miracle!

Winter vegetable soup


4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4  head cabbage, chopped
1 can pink, pinto or white beans
1 small bag frozen baby lima beans
½ bag frozen okra
1 large can petite diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable soup base
⅓ cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Saute onions over medium heat in the bottom of a soup pot until they’re limp and translucent.
  2. Add celery and saute.
  3. After five minutes, add garlic and keep everything moving so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  4. Add carrots and cabbage.
  5. Keep stirring until the cabbage turns bright green and goes limp.
  6. Add black pepper, celery seed, oregano and thyme.
  7. Add tomatoes.
  8. Dissolve two heaping tablespoons of soup base in about a quart and a half of hot water and add it to the pot. Add more liquid (with a bit more base dissolved in it) for “brothier” soup.
  9. Bring to a boil then lower heat to simmer.
  10. Add canned beans and frozen limas.
  11. Add frozen okra.
  12. Simmer for at least an hour and a half until the vegetables fully soften.
  13. Add Parmesan cheese.
  14. Add more seasoning if needed.
  15. Serve.
Always saute your soup vegetables before you add any water or stock. This makes the vegetables hold their shape and texture better in your finished soup.

Fresh vegetables get sauteed first, can vegetables go in after the fresh ones and frozen vegetables go in last.