Soup is one of the first dishes I confidently learned to cook since I started experimenting in the kitchen back in my undergrad years at Towson University, and it has been a staple in my culinary repertoire since.
It is warming and healing, especially after long trips or extended periods of eating out when your body needs a reset. I especially love making a big pot of soup on a Sunday and storing it in containers to be heated up over rice or pasta for lunch or dinner for the week (#SOUPerSunday).
My approach to cooking soup (and life) is simply to live in the process and do what feels right. Get creative with what you have and surprise yourself! My directions are merely suggestions, and I keep my measurements within a range, airing away from specific requirements.
You can substitute in and out various ingredients and find what works for you. For example, I put basil in my soup, but some might say basil is too strong and would substitute parsley instead. As novelist Nella Larsen might say, “To each his own milieu.” So, feel free to follow this recipe exactly or use it as a guidepost with what you may already have in your kitchen.
What You Need to Make Simple Vegetable Soup:
- 2 large or 3 small carrots
- 3-4 celery stalks
- 1/2 onion
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon ghee, butter, or oil (more or less)
- 1 small-medium zucchini squash
- 2 handfuls of bay kale or spinach
- 1 can white beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1 box vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup-1 cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2-3 dashes crushed red pepper or to taste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2-3 leaves fresh basil
To begin, make sure your hands, countertops, utensils and dishes are clean. A clean space sets the tone for a focused and positively charged process. Some believe, and I might agree, that the energy you cook with infiltrates the dish. So, play some of your favorite tunes and generate some positive vibrations!
It is best to get ahead of the project by minimizing tasks when the focus is on the food. Therefore clean, prepare, measure and chop everything prior to adding any heat.
Once you have cleaned up and prepared yourself and your space, you may begin to wash and dry your veggies. Cut off the brown ends of the carrot and celery. Peel the carrots if you wish.
Put these ingredients into a bowl, and then cut half of an onion and 4-6 cloves of garlic. You may either chop the onion and garlic small or leave them whole or in large pieces (like I do). The benefit to keeping the onion and garlic larger is that they do not burn as easily since you will want to sauté these veggies for some time before adding any liquid (the stock and water).
Place a crockpot or large pot on high heat with 1 teaspoon of ghee, oil or butter. Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté until lightly cooked. Then add the zucchini.
Pour in the broth and water. Then, add basil, paprika, cumin, garlic, and onion powder. Stir, and then bring to boil then simmer and cover for 10 minutes.
Add beans, stir, and simmer with the lid on for 10-15 minutes.
Add kale, stir, simmer with the lid on for 5-10 minutes.
Pour over some rice and garnish with lemon juice, salt, avocado, and/or parmesan cheese. I prefer adding avocado, but none of mine are currently ripe (whomp-whomp). I also love love love zesting my veggie soups with lemon juice, it effectively replaces salt- try it if you don’t believe me!
This dish stores well and can be enjoyed throughout the week as a lunch or dinner with rice, pasta, protein, bread, or with maybe some more broth! If you see your soup is low on broth, simply add more water and some spices before reheating.
If you tried this recipe, let me know how it went! Feel free to even send pictures of your dish to firstname.lastname@example.org. Bon appetit, and have a “soup-er” day!