My Signature Vegetable Soup

Meatless Monday recipe: My signature vegetable soupThere comes a time every spring when I go to pull something out of the basement freezer and say to myself, “Holy crap, I have a lot of vegetables in here.”

That time was last week. We just had the first fresh spinach out of the garden in a salad the night before, when I discovered I still had frozen spinach from last spring in the deep freeze. Not to mention frozen grated zucchini and a whole lot of other vegetables that I froze last summer. It’s time to use them before they get lapped by this year’s garden veggies! Time to make my signature vegetable soup.

Years ago, I found a basic vegetable soup recipe in a women’s magazine – I don’t remember which one, but Glamour or Cosmopolitan were what I read at the time. The recipe was part of some diet plan – the “cabbage soup diet” was a thing back in the day – but makes a delicious soup, nonetheless. And the basic recipe can be augmented with whatever other vegetables are on hand.

My Signature Vegetable Soup

I no longer have the copy of the recipe I tore out of the magazine all those years ago. In fact, I haven’t followed an actual recipe for years. I know I’ve made a few tweaks. For one thing, I remember the original recipe calling for water and bouillon cubes (does anyone even remember what those are?) instead of stock or broth. I usually use homemade soup stock or purchased beef or chicken broth. For a vegetarian version, use vegetable broth.

Meatless Monday recipe: My signature vegetable soupThe Basic Recipe

Use as much or as little of the ingredients as you wish. For a thicker soup or more servings, add more of everything.

My Signature Vegetable Soup

Makes 4-6 generous servings

My Signature Vegetable Soup


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 stalks celery, chopped (can substitute 1 teaspoon dehydrated celery flakes)
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups finely chopped cabbage (about ¼ head)
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/3-1/2 cup pearl barley (optional)
  • 1 pint tomato sauce
  • 4-6 cups chicken, beef or vegetable stock


  1. Heat olive oil in heavy soup pot. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until tender and golden, stirring frequently. Add celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, and continue to cook until vegetables soften, stirring occasionally, about 5-10 more minutes. Add garlic and stir for one minute. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Bring soup to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes or until potato and cabbage are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Frozen grated zucchini

Grated zucchini

A Frozen Vegetable Variation

With frozen spinach and zucchini to use up, I thawed a bag of frozen grated zucchini and added it with the cabbage, potato and liquids. Just before serving, I stirred in a bag of frozen spinach, thawed and chopped. (Two bags of veggies down, at least a dozen more to go!)

I like to top this soup with grated Parmesan cheese and a few drops of sriracha sauce. Serve it with cheese toast for a great Meatless Monday meal.

Frozen spinach


Do you have a signature soup? Tell us about it in the comments section below.