A great and quick soup for a cold winter day. Comfort and good nutrition in one big pot.
This soup has everything, or anything you want in it. And, it's yummy. Did I say that it's very yummy!
My version of vegetable soup came to me over a diet about thirty years ago. I was around 30, that makes me how many years old, and I had discovered a wonderful weight loss program. It is what has become the wonderful world of keto and the like but back in the day it was "no flour, no sugar". I lost 135 pounds on that diet. It was so very successful and it worked for me and very many other people in my community. The company is gone now. Perhaps I could share it all in a blog post. Hmmm?
I use V8 juice as the stock and it does have a scant amount of sugar in it. Oh, the downside of processed foods. Quick, someone make a homemade V8 stock version and tell me about it. Other than the sugar in the juice, there isn't any added and that only gives the natural sweetness in the various veggies you choose to pop through in the soup even more. anyone who has ever been on a diet knows how sweet corn and carrots really are.
The V8 or that type juice adds the celery flavor I like so much in soup, but if that isn't your preference, you can add plain tomato juice as your stock and spice it up the way you like from there. It's all up to you with this recipe.
It's not so much WHAT goes into the soup as HOW it goes into the soup
Why this? First of all.....what goes in?
The thing is, anything you like goes in. You can add twenty different vegetables or you can use two. You can use traditional vegetables in your custom, or combine different flavors in any combination. The sky is the limit.
In my world what's on hand is usually the limit which is another good thig about this recipe. It's great for those odds and ends veggies left in the fridge and what you have on hand.
So after the what the how is actually more important for a good soup. Why? Have you ever added celery to a dish and then added the broccoli only to discover completely mushy celery at the end, or altogether invisible celery because it dissolved into the dish? It's super important to add more dense veggies first and then least dense ones last to ensure each bite is substantial and to it's best yum factor.
I just threw this batch together the other day and so I'm sharing this recipe so you can see how it generally works out step-by-step.
Buy extra V8 juice before you start. They'll drink a bottle before you get started. trust me on this.
The Yummy Ingredients
For a GIANT pot of soup. (Tamale pot sized pot.)
*links are for your shopping convenience and help. You're Welcome!
2 - 64oz. bottles or cans of V8 juice or tomato juice if you don't want the spices in V8.
3 large heads of broccoli
1 large head of cauliflower
1 bag of baby carrots
1 medium bok choy
4 medium sized green zucchinis, or 2 each of green and yellow for color
Approximately 6 or 7 mini sweet peppers in assorted colors
1 box of button mushrooms
5 stalks of celery
1 head of Napa cabbage
2 cans of whole kernel corn
1 can of green beans
6 medium fresh tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Herbs de Provence to taste
MAKE THE SOUP ... MAKE THE SOUP
Perfect on a blustery fall or snowy winter's day, this soup never disappoints me. I love it because it is comforting and I love it because it's healthy.
I like to throw it together in my kitchen while the grandkids sit and do their homework. We laugh so much and have such a good time. The smell of that wholesome steam always invokes memories of those treasured days.
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Start with a large, clean stock pot. Pour both containers of V8 in the pot and then add the water. Turn heat on medium high. You may want to play with your ratio of water and juice over time. Everyone's tastes are different. Just know that you can add as much or as little of the vegetable base as you like.
While the stock starts to warm up, you want it to come to a low rolling boil, start chopping up the most dense vegetables first and throw them in the pot.
Rinse the broccoli and trim off the little side leaves left. Trim the end. Separate the bracts and then roughly chop them into 1/4 in to 1/2in chunks.
Remove the leaves of the cauliflower. Using a sharp knife, cut the bottom core from the head like you might with a cabbage. After this treat the cauliflower head like you would the broccoli, chopping the bracts into 1/4in to 1/2in pieces.
Wash and peel the carrots, or if you like leave the skin on. Chop these into 1/4in to 1/2in slices as well.
Throw the broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots into the pot.
While the denser veggies are cooking prep the next group to add to the soup.
Rinse the bok choy. Tear off the leaves as you would celery stalks. I used all but the very center. Cut off the biggest part of the dark green tops. You can use as much or as little of this as you prefer, but I wanted the least tough part so I removed the dark green leaves. Chop the white parts thinly and set aside in a large bowl.
Zucchini, summer squash. Any summer type squash works here and I used only green zucchini this time. Wash them in cold water. Cut off the ends and then slice each one in half lengthwise. Cut each half in 1/4in slices. Place all of this in the bowl with the bok choy.
Prepare the sweet mini peppers. These are so CUTE and worked so well in this soup! Cut off the tops. Gently clean out the few seeds that are there. Take the last ingredients you've readied with these and now throw them in the pot. The broccoli should be half translucent by now, about fifteen minutes.
Set the mushrooms aside, whole or sliced they work great. Select and rinse five good stalks of celery. Remove the ends and the tops and chop them into 1/4in slices. Put these in a bowl.
Rinse a medium head of Napa cabbage. This is going to seem like ALOT of cabbage but trust me, it cooks down great in the soup. Cut off the end and then slice the cabbage into 1/8in slices. Now throw the mushrooms, celery, and cabbage in the pot. It's going to seem VERY full at this point. It might BE too full. If that is the case you can take a few cups of veggies out and use them in something else to make room for the last part, but if you'll use some faith and patience...as long as there is about two inches of pot left at the top, this soup will work.
Let the soup cook for about five minutes from here and then add the canned corn, green beans, and fresh tomatoes. (cut them into wedges.) Here's a thing though...I prefer fresh green beans and corn on the cob, but I couldn't find beans and corn was too expensive that day. When I can afford them, I add the green beans with the first batch of veggies along with the corn on the cob. I slice the cobs into 1in slices...and yes it's kind of hard to do but worth it for aesthetics as well as fresh corn taste!
Spice it up. I can't tell you measurements here because I honestly don't have any but I do have some good advice. ADD SLOWLY. Add a few sprinkles of salt and pepper, taste, add, repeat. Do this until it TASTES GOOD. This is how you learn to spice your food and it's a great exercise so don't be nervous and just try it.
Adding the chicken bouillon. It's what I consider a little cheat, but if you want instant flavor add this. It works the same as with the salt and pepper. Start with a small amount and go from there until you're satisfied. Put some hot broth in a cup and then sprinkle in the bouillon to make it and then add it to the pot. This prevents huge clumps of bouillon getting into your pot.
This soup is so good on a cold day but it also refreshing and light on a summer night. For nutrition or comfort, this is great idea.