This easy homemade vegetable soup is a textbook Mediterranean diet recipe and a delicious way to amp up your veggie intake. It’s loaded with zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, chickpeas and fresh herbs. It’s cozy, comforting, vegan and gluten-free, but trust me, meat eaters will love this vegetable soup as much as veggie lovers do. Take it from us!
This soup recipe is an amped up version of healthy vegetable soup with a host of nourishing ingredients like garlic, onions, whole tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes and chickpeas. Fresh herbs, lime juice, and a good dash of warm spices (turmeric, coriander, and paprika) give this soup a Mediterranean twist.
This soup recipe is similar to Italian minestrone soup, minus the pasta. Remember that virtually all vegetables will work in an everyday vegetable soup recipe like this one. Homemade vegetable soup is a great way to use up what veggies you have on hand, so feel free to substitute.
Our changes? Instead of cannellini beans, we used double the amount of Alubia white beans that had been soaked overnight for another dish. We also increased the suggested 32-ounce whole tomatoes to one 28-ounce can, plus another 14-ounce can, and hand crushed them in a large bowl. *Finally our six cups of broth was made up of equal parts bean broth, homemade chicken stock and beef bone broth.
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, washed, dried, stems and leaves separated, then each chopped
1 medium-size yellow or red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 medium zucchini, tops removed, sliced into rounds or half-moons or diced
2 golden potatoes, peeled, small diced
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. turmeric powder
½ tsp. sweet paprika
Salt and pepper
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 28-oz. + 1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand in large bowl
2 bay leaves
½ tsp. dry thyme
6 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)*
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
⅓ cup toasted pine nuts, optional
Sauté Mushrooms: In a large pot heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove from the pot and set aside for now.
Add fresh veggies and spices: Add more olive oil, if needed and heat. Add the chopped parsley stems, (save the leaves for later), onions, garlic, celery, carrots, zucchini and small diced potatoes. Stir in the spices, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring regularly, until the vegetables have softened a bit.
Add the chickpeas and tomatoes: Now add the chickpeas, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and broth. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover partially and cook for 15 more minutes.
Return mushrooms to the pot: Uncover and add the sauteed mushrooms. Cook for just a few more minutes until mushrooms are warmed through.
Add finishing touches: Finally, stir in the parsley leaves, lime zest, and lime juice.
The finish: Remove from the heat. Remove bay leaves. Transfer the vegetable soup to serving bowls and top with toasted pine nuts, if you like. Add a side of your favorite crusty bread or pita along with extra lime wedges and crushed red pepper.
Soup isn’t typically a dish that comes to mind during hot weather spells. But I couldn’t help myself when I saw this fiber-rich recipe from America’s Test Kitchen (ATK). So on a rare cool, cloudy day in mid-summer, I spent some afternoon time preparing this Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup with Sage Pesto, with the intentions of having it for dinner on the following night.
Instead of the usual creamy, rich, puréed style of butternut squash soup, this heartier version can stand on its own as a meal. It features chunks of squash paired with creamy cannellini beans to give the soup some heft.
Because the bulb portion of the squash is difficult to cut into cubes that will cook evenly, and because it naturally cooks faster than the dense neck portion, ATK suggests cutting the bulb into wedges, cook them in the broth until soft, and then mash them to make a “squash stock”—giving the soup base body and flavor.
A swirl of freshly-made sage pesto made in a mini food processor, lends the right bright, fresh finish. The pesto is so good, you may be tempted to eat it directly from the bowl. If you have any leftover, use it as a condiment on any number of other edibles; or stir into pasta.
Since The Hubs detests walnuts, I opted to use pine nuts—a common ingredient in pesto. If you are intent on keeping it vegetarian, use vegetable broth. Keep in mind, whatever stock you use, a homemade version is always a better bet because of the depth of flavor it offers.
Purchasing precut chunks of squash allows for ease of preparation although you may have to dice some of those chunks into 1⁄2-inch pieces for Step 5. To bulk up the meal further, serve with a slice of toasted crusty rosemary olive oil loaf.
Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup with Sage Pesto
1 oz. (1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for serving
Salt and pepper
1 2- to 2 1/2 lb. butternut squash
4 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade; or vegetable stock
3 cups water
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
3 15-oz. cans cannellini beans
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
Grated Parm for serving
FOR THE PESTO: Pulse pine nuts and garlic in food processor until coarsely chopped, about 5 pulses. Add parsley and sage; with processor running, slowly add oil and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to bowl, stir in Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
FOR THE SOUP: Using sharp vegetable peeler or chef’s knife, remove skin and fibrous threads just below skin from squash (peel until squash is completely orange with no white flesh remaining, roughly 1/8 inch deep). Cut round bulb section off squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds; cut each half into 4 wedges.
Bring squash wedges, broth, water, and soy sauce to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer vigorously until squash is very tender and starting to fall apart, about 20 minutes.
Using potato masher, mash squash, still in broth, until completely broken down. Cover to keep warm; set aside. (For a creamier base, you may want to use an immersion blender.)
While broth cooks, cut neck of squash into 1/2-inch pieces. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add leeks and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks have softened and tomato paste has darkened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add squash pieces, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add squash broth and bring to simmer. Partially cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Add beans and their liquid, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is just tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing pesto and extra Parmesan separately.
This cold-weather salad from chef Carla Hall hits all the notes: sweet, savory, spicy, and salty—with a bit of crunch from the squash seeds. Here, Hall uses her Country Ham Potlikker as an umami-rich base for a spicy vinaigrette that gets its silky texture from blended cannellini beans.
But the thing is, most people are not going to have this potlikker broth on hand. We had some leftover from our Smothered Pork Chops dinner in which you had to pre-make the Country Ham Potlikker. Our suggestion is to use a mix of oil and vinegar instead, you won’t have that smoky ham flavor, but you will be keeping the meal vegetarian.
*We decided to roast our fennel slices since I didn’t shave them thin enough. Basically, place the fennel on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle olive oil all over, sprinkle with salt and pepper, rub it all together with your hands, then roast for about 30-35 minutes in a 400° oven. This can be done ahead of time, simply cover the roasted fennel with foil until ready to mix in with the other ingredients.
Bean and Vegetable Salad with Potlikker Vinaigrette
2 tsp. Diamond Crystal, or 1 1/4 tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium delicata squash, halved, seeds removed and reserved, sliced crosswise 1/2″ thick
3 extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 large sweet-tart apple, (such as Honeycrisp), cored, quartered, sliced 1/4″ thick
1 large fennel bulb, quartered, shaved in very thin slices (*See note above for roasting option)
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Blend vinegar, potlikker (or substitute), mustard, and ¼ cup cannellini beans in a blender until smooth. With the motor running, stream in vegetable oil; blend until emulsified. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 400°. Divide sliced squash between 2 rimmed baking sheets; drizzle 2 Tbsp. olive oil over. Sprinkle with 2 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt; season with pepper. Roast 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse squash seeds and pat dry. Toss seeds with cayenne and remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a small bowl; season with salt.
Sprinkle seeds over squash. Continue to roast until squash is golden brown and tender, 13–15 minutes more.
Combine squash and seeds, apple, fennel, kidney beans, and remaining cannellini beans in a large bowl. Toss with ½ cup vinaigrette. Taste and add more vinaigrette if needed. Add parsley, season with salt, and toss again.
Transfer salad to a platter; serve any remaining vinaigrette alongside.
As with most stir-fries, this one is quick and tasty, perfect for a weeknight meal. Originally from EatingWell Magazine, we altered the ingredients by doubling the sauce, and amping up the amount of shiitake mushrooms. And if you’re squeamish about eating duck, go ahead and substitute pork tenderloin, chicken or even beef strips.
8 oz. boneless duck breast, skin removed and cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups sliced bok choy
7-8 shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Steamed rice, prepared as per package directions
Prepare steamed rice according to package directions.
Whisk chili-garlic sauce, water, vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl.
Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Cook the duck, in a single layer, stirring once, until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add garlic and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broccoli and bok choy; cook, stirring, until the broccoli is bright green, about 2 minutes.
Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the chili-garlic sauce mixture; cook, stirring often, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
Return the duck and any accumulated juices to the pan; stir to coat with the sauce. Cook until heated through, about 1 minute.