The Warm Wonder of Vegetable Herb Soup – A Happy Leaf RecipeAll Articles
Soup’s on! Who doesn’t love a hot bowl of soup…. Especially on a cold day.
There’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of warm, hearty vegetable herb soup. It’s the perfect way to warm up your body and soul, and it’s packed with nutrients and flavor.
And, we at Happy Leaf love that we can grow many of our soup’s ingredients indoors under our Happy Leaf LEDs! We can see our meal grow from seed to soup!
Vegetable herb soup is also incredibly versatile. Again, it’s one of our beloved non-recipe recipes. You can use any vegetables you have on hand, and you can adjust the fresh herbs and spices to your taste. It’s a good way to clean your fridge and freezer, and it’s also good for people with dietary restrictions.
Whether you’re making a classic vegetable soup or trying something new, there are a few tips that will help you make the perfect batch of soup every time.
Feel free to scroll further for the nuts and bolts of the recipe, but first, some thoughts on building the most flavorful vegetable soup:
Flavor Building Recommendations
Choose the right vegetables
If you’re using fresh vegetables, be sure to wash and chop them evenly. This will help them cook evenly and prevent the soup from becoming mushy.
Build the base
The flavor of your soup will start with the base. For a classic vegetable soup, start by sautéing onions, carrots, and celery in a little olive oil. Once the vegetables are softened, add some garlic and your favorite fresh herbs and spices.
You can also use a store-bought vegetable broth or stock as the base of your soup. However, if you have the time, it’s worth making your own broth. Homemade broth is much more flavorful than store-bought broth, and it’s also a great way to use up leftover vegetable scraps.
Adding the vegetables
Once you have a flavorful base, it’s time to add the vegetables. Add the vegetables that take the longest to cook first, such as carrots, potatoes, and winter squash. Then, add the vegetables that cook more quickly, such as leafy greens and frozen vegetables.
Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Adding herbs and spices
Fresh herbs and spices are essential for giving your soup flavor. Some good herbs to use include thyme, rosemary, oregano, and basil. You can also use a pre-made Italian seasoning blend.
Add the herbs and spices to the soup during the last 10 minutes of cooking. This will give them enough time to infuse the soup with their flavor without becoming overpowering.
Season to taste
Once the soup is done cooking, be sure to season it to taste with salt and pepper. You may also want to add a squeeze of lemon juice or a dollop of yogurt to brighten up the flavors.
Serve and enjoy
Vegetable herb soup can be served on its own or with a side of bread, crackers, or salad. It’s also a great soup to freeze for later meals.
Here are a few tips for serving and enjoying vegetable herb soup:
- For a more elegant presentation, garnish the soup with fresh herbs, a dollop of sour cream, or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
- If you’re freezing the soup, be sure to let it cool completely before freezing it. Store the soup in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to 3 months.
- To reheat the soup, simply thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or reheat it in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed through.
Variations on vegetable herb soup
There are endless possibilities when it comes to making vegetable herb soup. Here are a few ideas for variations:
- Creamy vegetable herb soup: For a creamier soup, puree half of the soup in a blender or food processor before returning it to the pot. You can also add a splash of heavy cream or milk to make the soup creamier.
- Spicy vegetable herb soup: For a spicier soup, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce.
- Roasted vegetable herb soup: For a richer flavor, roast the vegetables before adding them to the soup. Simply toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes, or until tender.
- Slow cooker vegetable herb soup: If you’re short on time, you can make vegetable soup in the slow cooker. Simply combine all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the vegetables are tender.
Here’s the basic recipe:
Note: You can prepare this soup using broth you make from scratch, using the recipe below. Or, you can use broth you may have in your freezer or that you purchase at the store. If you already have broth prepared, you can simply follow the rest of the recipe.
Vegetable Herb Soup Ingredients & Recipe
For the vegetable broth:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
- 2 teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 cups water
For the soup:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup chopped spinach
- 1 cup chopped kale
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, etc.)
- Salt and pepper to taste
To make the vegetable broth:
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, rosemary, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Cook the vegetables until they soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, or until the vegetables are very tender.
- Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Discard the solids.
- Let the broth cool slightly before storing it in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- For a richer flavor, roast the vegetables before adding them to the pot. Simply toss the vegetables with a little olive oil and salt and roast in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 20-30 minutes, or until softened.
- You can also add other vegetables to your broth, such as mushrooms, zucchini, or tomatoes.
- If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use dried herbs. Just use half as much dried herbs as you would fresh herbs.
For the soup:
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Stir in the spinach, kale, and herbs. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the greens are wilted.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
- Feel free to use any combination of fresh herbs you like.
- If you want a thicker soup, you can puree it in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Serve the soup with a dollop of sour cream, yogurt, or crème fraîche.
No matter how you choose to make it, vegetable herb soup is a delicious and nutritious meal that the whole family will enjoy….. AND, with your indoor grown greens and herbs you can truly make this a seed to soup meal!
As always, if you want to learn more about how LED grow lights work, we have an informative article on the subject. What You Really Need to Know About Grow Lights.
Happy Leaf LED is a proud member of the National Garden Bureau