Simple Vegetable Soup

A bowl of vegetable soup with cornbread on the side

5 from 1 reviews

This simple vegetable soup is easy and versatile. It's a great way to use up vegetables and feed your family a simple, nourishing meal. 


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds or half moons
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced into 1/2-inch half moons
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with your hand
  • 1 14-ounce can diced/chopped tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 quarts/10 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 2 to 4 cups vegetables chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (beets, turnips, rutabagas, potatoes, squash, zucchini)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Several sprigs of herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano)
  • 1 15-ounce can of beans, drained (I like Navy beans or garbanzo)
  • 2 handfuls torn greens (kale or Swiss chard), or shredded cabbage, or baby or frozen spinach or kale
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: A few inches of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (for added flavor) 

Optional Add-ins:

  • Cooked grains (farro, barley, quinoa)
  • Cooked pasta (macaroni, orzo, ditalini)
  • More veggies, such as green beans, fresh or frozen corn, or mixed frozen veggies  


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven with a lid.
  2. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt.
  3. Add garlic cloves and the can of tomatoes and their juice. Simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are thick. If needed, lower the heat to make sure tomato doesn't stick to the pot. Season again with 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. Add the water or broth, vegetables, bay leaf, herbs and cheese rind (if using). If you're using water instead of salted broth, then add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil, then turn the heat down to low or medium-low. Cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes.
  6. After 45 minutes, try a few vegetables to make sure you like the texture - if the veggies are too firm for you liking, simmer the soup longer.
  7. Add the can of beans and any additional, quick-cooking vegetables (like greens, cabbage, corn, or green beans.) Simmer another 10 minutes without a lid.
  8. Try the soup, adding salt and pepper as needed. It's very likely that you'll need to add more salt. Don't be stingy with salt!  You can also add a teaspoon or more of apple cider vinegar to perk up the flavor.
  9. This soup is often more flavorful on the 2nd or 3rd day. It stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and freezes well for future meals.


When chopping the vegetables, aim for a size that's around 1/2-inch. Smaller chunks will cook faster, if you like softer veggies in your soup. Just make sure to cut all the veggies about the same size, so they cook evenly.

Adding salt at different stages in the cooking process helps build flavor. Instead of just adding salt to the broth, I season the veggies as they're added to the soup.

This soup can be changed depending on what you like and what you have on hand. Choose whatever types of veggies you like best, add pre-cooked pasta or grains if you like, or add more beans.

I like to freeze a big portion of this soup in a gallon Ziploc bag, or smaller portions that can be defrosted for lunch throughout the month.

Keywords: soup, vegetable soup, vegetables