Friday, September 28, 2012

My Absolute Favorite Homemade Vegetable Soup

This vegetable soup is basically the same soup my mom made each summer with fresh vegetables, then stored in the freezer to eat throughout the winter. Mom always made it with tomatoes, cabbage, corn, potatoes, okra, and butter beans. I add English peas, spinach, broccoli, green beans, and pureed carrots.

It recently occurred to me that the vegetable soup that I have always loved, is vegetarian and vegan friendly! Although at times I have seasoned it with bacon drippings, or added ground beef, most often I make it meatless, and season it with olive oil or coconut oil. It was very exciting to me that my ‘old faithful’ soup fits in with my new-found interest in vegetarian and vegan cooking.

Although I have discovered many new foods that are vegetarian and vegan friendly that I enjoy, it is likely there will never be a meatless meal I enjoy more than my long-time friend, homemade vegetable soup. So here’s my recipe. To try it is to love it!

Bowl of my homemade Vegetable Soup


2 large cans tomato juice, about 1 qt each

1 qt vegetable broth

1 bag raw shredded cabbage, or about ½ head shredded

1 box (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach

1 box (10 oz) frozen chopped broccoli

1 can carrots, pureed with juice

1 large can (38 oz) cut green beans, or 1 bag of frozen

1 bag frozen cut okra

2 bags frozen Fordhook lima beans

2 cans Green Giant Niblets corn, or 2-3 cups frozen corn

2 cans Green Giant Llessur English peas, or 2-3 cups frozen peas

6 potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes, or if you are going to freeze some of the soup, 3 potatoes cubed

Seasoning is very subjective. This is an approximation of what I use:

2 Tbsp oil oil

1 Tbsp Lawry’s seasoned salt

1 Tbsp Lawry’s garlic powder with parsley flakes

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp cumin

1 tsp cardamom

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp black pepper

Sometimes I use Italian spices. Skip the cumin, cardamom and coriander. Add 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp rosemary, and 6 bay leaves.


1. Empty the tomato juice into a 15 to 20 quart stock pot. Add chicken broth.

2. Add cabbage, carrot puree, and spices. Stir to combine. Cover stock pot. Heat to a low boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

3. Add frozen chopped spinach and broccoli, and green beans. It will take a little time to return to slow boil. Once simmering again, cook for 30 minutes. As vegetables thaw, stir occasionally.

4. Taste the broth to see if you need to add more seasoning.

5. Add okra and vegetable oil to the soup and continue cooking at a low boil for 30 more minutes.

6. Cook lima beans in separate pot until they are tender. Salt the beans as needed. I put a peeled whole onion in my limas. When the beans are tender, remove the onion, but do not drain. Transfer cooked lima beans and juice to the soup mixture.

7. Again taste the soup broth. Add additional salt or spices if needed.

8. Boil the potatoes in water until tender. I use the same pot as I cooked the lima beans in.

9. Just before potatoes are ready, add corn and English peas, with juice from both, to the soup mixture.

10. I usually freeze some of the soup, and separate the soup into two portions at this time. I put potatoes in the portion I am going to eat in the next few days. Frozen and thawed potatoes change texture, and I don’t personally like the texture. When I thaw soup later, I add cooked potatoes.

11. Pour potatoes with the cooking water into soup mixture. Again test for seasonings.

12. Continue cooking, covered, at a low simmer until all ingredients are hot and flavors have blended.

Great Memories

My dad always eats saltine crackers with his soup. All I need for my soup is a spoon! When I was growing up, my mom would make vegetable soup in the summertime, with garden-fresh vegetables. She’d make it in this huge stockpot, and package it in quart and half gallon containers for the freezer. I never ate breakfast when I was young, except “vegetable soup season”, when I ate soup for breakfast.

I love this vegetable soup so much! When I make it, I usually freeze some, but I keep out enough to eat everyday for lunch for a week. It is definitely a family favorite. I hope that my vegan friendly vegetable soup soon becomes one of your family’s favorites.

Benefits of Vegetarian Meals

I have read several articles in which medical experts have sighted the health benefits of adopting a 75% vegetarian diet. There are many reasons for this. For those with high cholesterol and triglycerides, some would argue there may be dramatic decreases in these crucial lab values from a diet sparse in animal protein.

Other benefits to a diet of limited animal proteins may include decreased exposure to hormones and antibiotics given to livestock. Benefits to the environment and the economy from money saved in not processing and transporting meat are cited by some. Many believe scores more humans would be fed by eating grains, rather than feeding that same grain to cows.

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