I love making vegetable soup and here’s why.
One, I almost always have the ingredients on hand.
Two, it’s a great way to use up vegetables that are about to go bad.
Three, I love recipes where I can basically dump and simmer and that is the core strategy when making vegetable soup.
The Best Vegetables To Use In Soup
I have to be honest, I don’t think there is a BEST vegetable. And for the most part, they are all good in vegetable soup (hence the name!)
The key though is that not all vegetables are going to cook to doneness at the same rate. A thick chunk of carrot or potato is going to take longer than corn kernels and peas.
So when you’re making vegetable soup, you don’t want to dump all of your vegetables in at the same time. If you do, the result will be some mushy veggies and that’s not what you want in your soup!
The best vegetable soups have a variety of vegetables that all maintain their unique textures without being overcooked.
As you’ll see in my recipe below, I add the various veggies at different times in the simmering process. This method has never let me down.
Vegetable Beef Soup
My classic vegetable soup also has beef chunks in it. This is how my mom always made vegetable soup, and so you learn what you live!
I usually buy the packages of meat called “stew meat” at the grocery store. The beef is already cut up into chunks so it’s one less step for me. I make sure I see a little marbling in the beef, as that lends itself to a more tender bite once the meat has simmered in the soup.
I also want to call out a new beef broth I recently discovered at the grocery store.
This Swanson brand Artisan Beef Broth is so flavorful! I’m a total convert. It will make a delicious base to your veggie soup.
And if you’re aren’t a meat eater, you can leave the meat out of the recipe and use a vegetable broth I instead.
However you make this, I hope you agree, it’s just SOUP-er! (yes, I went there!)
Let’s get cooking!
Vegetable Beef Soup
- 1 1/2 to 2lbs. stew meat
- olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cups peeled and thickly sliced carrots (you can then halve or quarter the sliced rounds if you prefer)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 2-32oz cartons beef broth
- 4 cups tomato juice
- 1 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups diced red potatoes (you can use other kinds, but these are my fave)
- 1 1/2 cups thickly diced zucchini (don’t make these pieces too thin or they’ll get mushy)
- 1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen green beans, chopped if necessary
- 1/2 c. fresh or frozen peas
- 1/2 c. fresh or frozen corn
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 1 TBSP. olive oil in a large (7 or 8 quart) pot over medium high heat.
- Make sure you’ve used a paper towel to absorb extra moisture off the beef. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper then add 1/2 to the pot and brown on all sides.
- Remove beef and set aside. Then add another 1/2 tbsp. oil to pot and brown remaining beef. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to pot and add onions, carrots and celery. Saute for a few minutes, then add garlic. Saute for another minute.
- Add oregano, thyme, basil and stir.
- Pour in broth, tomatoes, tomato juice, browned beef, and bay leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to a simmer. Stir once or twice, simmering for 30 minutes.
- Add potatoes, then continue to simmer for another 25 minutes.
- Add zuchinni and green beans. Simmer for another 20 minutes
- Add peas and corn. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves before serving.
A Few Notes About This Soup
The beauty of this soup is that you can use as many or as few vegetables as you like. What I included in the recipe is what my family likes. My husband and kids like soup to have a lot of “stuff” so I make sure there are lots of veggies in every bite.
But if there are some veggies I’ve included that you don’t like, leave it out! Or others you love, add them in! There are no rules with vegetable soup!
If you find that you have a lot of broth left over, here’s my tip: save it and add a few more vegetables to it a night or two later. Add some tortellini. Or maybe some turkey meatballs. The broth is so flavorful, it makes the best “leftover” base for another meal on another night. I must say, that might just be my favorite part of this recipe!
More Easy Soup Recipes
We are definitely a soup loving family. In fact, my son has been known to order a soup for an appetizer, followed by a different bowl of soup for dinner!
If you’re looking for a few more warm and cozy soups, you might want to try my version of New England Clam Chowder. This creamy and decadent chowder is packed with corn, potatoes and celery and finished off with sour cream. It’s my daughter’s absolute favorite soup recipe.
And when busy days are on your calendar, give my slow cooker chili a try. I’ve had many people tell me that this recipe has become their family’s go-to chili. It isn’t overly spicy, but has great flavor. I love a good bowl of chili, don’t you?
Winter is definitely soup season, so I hope you enjoy making a pot of my vegetable beef soup. Your house will smell so good as the soup simmers over the course of a few hours. And your tastebuds will be thanking you after the first bite. Enjoy!
From my kitchen to yours,