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    Simple Vegetable Soup

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    Simple Vegetable Soup

    The ultimate comfort food and simplicity itself to create, a delicious bowl of homemade soup is the perfect option for when you're cold and hungry.

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 10 minutes
    • Cooking time: 40 minutes
    • Total time: 50 minutes 50 minutes

    Serves: 4


    • Large knob of butter
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 2 large carrots, chopped
    • 3 stems celery, chopped
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 500g floury potatoes, such as maris piper, peeled and cubed
    • 1 bouquet garni
    • 750ml hot water
    • 6 tbsp single cream, or to taste
    • Pesto or harissa, to finish


    1. The simplest soups, little more than vegetables blended with water, can be the most pleasing. With this basic method, you can create a delicious bowlful with whatever's in the fridge. Add a piquant finishing touch, and you've a meal to be proud of.
    2. It's crucial to create a deep flavour base. The holy trinity of savoury flavourings (onion, carrot and celery) is ideal, though onions alone still work well. Melt the butter and oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat. The butter gives rich flavour, while the oil stops it burning. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and season; salt helps the vegetables release their juices, which helps stop them browning. Cover and turn the heat right down. Cook the vegetables gently (this is called 'sweating') until soft - up to 20 minutes. Stir now and then and ensure the veg aren't browning - this would give a strong flavour whereas you want a gentle, vegetal sweetness.
    3. Add the potatoes, which will both flavour and thicken the soup, and stir for a minute. These ingredients in smaller quantities are ideal as a base for other soups. Cook the onion, carrot and celery as above, then add some potato with your main ingredient; perhaps broccoli, celeriac or squash.
    4. Add the bouquet garni and water. You could use stock but, since these ingredients are the ones that flavour stock anyway, it's not vital. Simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes or till the potatoes are soft. Remove the bouquet garni and purée the mix. Ideally, push through a sieve, too; always sieve soups using fibrous or thick-skinned ingredients, like fennel or tomatoes.
    5. When ready to serve, thoroughly reheat. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream (not essential but it adds a wonderful richness). Check the seasoning, ladle into warmed bowls, swirl a little pesto or harissa on to each, and serve.

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