Winter is a great time for soup! Oh who am I kidding? I love soup 365 days of the year. It can be 95 degrees outside and I will still eat the heck out of some soup. There is something incredibly comforting about soup. It warms not just the body, but the soul as well. And most broth based soups are also incredibly nutritious, with very little fat content. For instance, the recipe below only has 2 tablespoons of olive oil…and it fills an entire stock pot!
Garden Vegetable Soup
One of my favorite recipes, and the soup that I make most often, is vegetable soup. It is fantastic at using up vegetable scraps, or any vegetable that you might have too much of. The recipe I list below is what I put in this batch, but really you can make it with any vegetables that you have in your refrigerator…or garden. Some other vegetables that I have used in soups are:
- winter squash (like butternut or acorn)
- sweet potatoes
- cooked drying beans (e.g. lima, black turtle, hutterite soup drying beans)
- sweet & hot peppers
- bulb fennel
- Swiss chard…the list goes on and on.
Another way that you can add personality to your soup (yes, soups have personality) is with fresh herbs, or dried seasonings & spices.
Here are some other ideas on how to kick up your garden vegetable soup:
- Use coconut oil instead of olive oil, add some coconut milk, and a red Thai curry seasoning (really any kind of curry seasoning will work, red curry is just my personal favorite).
- Roast all of your vegetables first (I usually add eggplant to this version)…it is REALLY hard to beat a roasted vegetable soup.
- Add pasta, rice, quinoa, couscous, freekeh, or barley.
- Add some chili/taco seasoning, cilantro, and lime juice for a Mexican inspired soup.
- Put it all in a blender, or use an emersion blender to create a pureed soup.
- Add some fresh dill, lemon, and a little rice.
Most of these ingredients can be used fresh, dehydrated, or frozen. The dehydrated ingredients that went into this batch of vegetable soup were kale, okra, and green beans. I also used frozen corn from last year’s garden. And make sure to stay tuned this summer… I will show you how to dehydrate and freeze all of these vegetables and more. Oh… and “okra chips” are one of my favorite things ever. Amazing. Seriously. When I discovered okra chips, the amount of okra plants in our garden went from about 6 to 20. Yeah, they are THAT good. Look for a blog post on that this summer.
As much as I love dehydrating and freezing vegetables for later use, there is one vegetable that I personally prefer to always be fresh, and that is my onions. There is just something special about adding onions to hot olive oil. It makes your house smells amazing. The smell flirts with your nose… letting it know that you’re going to be eating something amazingly delicious soon.
Note: When preparing any kind of soup or stew that contains okra (dehydrated, frozen, or fresh) make sure to add it only during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Otherwise it will become too soft and it will almost dissolve into the soup. Mushy okra is just not something that I enjoy, but if you do, go ahead and add it in with the other vegetables.
Written by Sow True Seed’s Food Expert, Sarah Wickers (owner of Well Seasoned Table)