How to Make the Best Vegetable Soup
Pick Your Vegetables
All vegetables work well in vegetable soup. We use onions, carrots, celery, green beans, kale, zucchini, tomatoes and garlic in our version, but there’s room to get creative! Some other veggies that work well in vegetable soup are: leeks, fennel, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, peas, corn, spinach, Swiss chard and the list goes on! A good rule of thumb, if you feel experimental, is to pick a few veggies from the allium family (think onions, leeks and garlic) to start to build the flavor. Move next to vegetables that add bulk, like carrots, peas and squash, and finally, one or two tender leafy greens that add texture, like spinach or kale.
Vegetables are the cornerstone of any good vegetable soup, but you’ll need to add a little something more to bring it to the next level. We add a Parmesan rind to give this soup a rich, umami taste. It’s a great hack for building flavor, but if you don’t have one on hand, you can add a dash of soy sauce or tamari, nutritional yeast or extra spices to give the flavor a boost.
Give It Garnish
Garnish isn’t just for looks. It can also add flavor and dimension to your vegetable soup. We add pesto as a finishing touch. Other garnishes to try are chopped fresh herbs, flavored oils, a dollop of yogurt, chopped roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes, or a grated hard cheese like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano.
Slow-Cooker vs. Stovetop
We cook this vegetable soup in the slow cooker, which works well for busy days. You can assemble your dinner in the morning and have it ready four to six hours later. You can also cook it on the stovetop and have it ready in less time. Check out the stovetop version of this healthy soup.
How to Store Vegetable Soup
It’s easy to enjoy a fast and healthy lunch or dinner if you’ve got vegetable soup on hand. Just prepare through Step 1 and refrigerate for up to five days or portion the soup and freeze for up to six months; finish Step 2 just before serving.
6-quart or larger slow cooker
Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer