Mastering the Art of “Everything” Vegetable Soup

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This is called using whatever you’ve got.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s pretty common to subscribe to some kind of produce delivery service. For us, it’s Imperfect Produce and Farmstead.

Although these delivery services make healthy eating a lot easier, occasionally we wind up with a bit of surplus near the end of the month.

Even if you don’t use one of these delivery services, you’ve got to admit that this is the season when vegetables shine. Corn, green beans and tomatoes are at their peak in the summer. It’s hard not to overdo it and buy too much when the prices on produce are so low.

In my freezer, I had about a cup of veggies on the verge of freezer burn, and a blob of tomato paste leftover from making pasta sauce so I threw those into this dish as well. Why not clean out the fridge and the freezer?

Other great substitutes or add-ins could be celery, cooked beans, sweet potatoes, or again, whatever you have!

Soup isn’t typically the first thing people crave in summer, but just trust me. This recipe walks the line of being light enough for summer and hearty enough to satisfy. It would pair awesomely with a salad, pasta dish or sandwich. Although my version is vegetarian, it could easily be vegan if you skip the sour cream garnish.

Let’s just be honest — this is the easiest (and most cost effective) way to make sure none of that summer veg goes to waste. Extra points if you save the root ends of your carrot, leek, garlic cloves and shallot in the freezer to make a homemade stock later!

“Everything” Vegetable Soup

Serves 2 as a meal, or 4 as a side dish

2 tablespoons oil — I used olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large carrot

1 leek, cleaned

1 shallot

8 cherry tomatoes

3 medium cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup frozen vegetables, defrosted in 1 cup of water (I used a combo of corn and green beans, but use whatever you have)

3 cups stock (I used vegetable stock, but feel free to use chicken or beef stock; water works too!)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Garnish ideas: Sliced green onion, sour cream, yogurt, shredded cheese, crispy baked chickpeas, croutons, extra virgin olive oil, chopped fresh herbs, crisp crumbled bacon, popcorn

Preheat a medium sized soup pot to medium low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Wash and coarsely chop the vegetables. Add all of your vegetables to the pot, except for the tomatoes and garlic. Add the kosher salt, and let the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
The vegetables should appear soft and slightly golden after 10 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and garlic.
Soften the tomatoes and garlic, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, stir.
Add your defrosted vegetables, along with the 1 cup of water. Increase the heat to medium high.
Add the stock. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.
Blend the soup until slightly smooth.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, cool the soup slightly and add about half to a blender. Carefully blend until slightly smooth. Remember, you want just a little bit of texture!
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish.

Step-by-step

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Preheat a medium sized soup pot to medium low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Wash and coarsely chop the vegetables. You don’t even have to peel the carrot if you don’t want to. This is not the time to stress precision in knife skills, because this soup is partially pureed. But I mean, if you enjoy that kind of thing, more power to you.

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Add all of your vegetables to the pot, except for the tomatoes and garlic. Add the kosher salt, and let the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

Yes, the hot pan fogged up my camera. Oops.

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The vegetables should appear soft and slightly golden after 10 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and garlic.

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Again, don’t stress your knife skills. A coarse chop is just fine!

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Soften the tomatoes and garlic, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

(Still fogging up my camera with the hot pan!)

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Add the tomato paste.

After I open a can of tomato paste to use in one recipe, I like to keep the rest in the freezer in small blobs in a zip-top bag. This blob (yes, very technical term) is about 3 tablespoons.

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Add your defrosted vegetables, along with the 1 cup of water. Increase the heat to medium high.

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Add the stock. Bring to a boil.

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Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. Now it’s time to bust out your immersion blender! Blend the soup until slightly smooth.

If you don’t have one, cool the soup slightly and add about half to a blender. Carefully blend until slightly smooth. Remember, you want just a little bit of texture!

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Taste the soup, and season with salt and pepper. At this point, you can ladle it into bowls and garnish. I used sour cream and green onions, but the sky is the limit.

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Oh, and one more thing…

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Don’t forget to dunk a little buttered bread into it!

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5 thoughts on “Mastering the Art of “Everything” Vegetable Soup

  1. What an absolutely beautiful meal that you cooked! I love the idea of adding shallots. I bet this would be so delicious topped with a little cheese, a swirl of heavy cream, and a thick slab of buttered homemade bread on the side. You have me drooling! I can’t wait to save this recipe for a rainy day.

    Like

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