There’s nothing that makes the transition from fall to winter easier than the smell of soup simmering on the stove (and warming our bellies). Soup is warming, healthy, nourishing and affordable. It’s a versatile meal for all seasons — from light bisques to brothy bowls to hearty meals. It can be an appetizer or the main, and is adaptable to all sorts of dietary interests, such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and flavours from around the world.
BASIC VEGETABLE STOCK
Yield: approx. 5 cups
6 Cups Water (less water will mean a stronger stock – just make sure the veggies are covered with water when cooking)
2 cups chopped onions (or onion scraps)
2 cups chopped celery (or celery stalk scraps)
2 cups chopped carrots (or carrot scraps)
2 bay leaves
fresh herbs – thyme, rosemary, and/or parsley (can also use dry herbs, but not ground – optional)
2 tsp whole peppercorns
Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and don’t worry too much about ratio of veggies to use. A general rule of thumb is to use equal parts carrots, onion, and celery (the superstar trio when it comes to making soup stock), but you can also use parsnip, mushrooms, and other spices. Remember this is just a base for adding more flavor to your soups later.
Sauté veggies and garlic in oil for about 10 minutes. This is optional, but will add more flavour. Add water with remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer (barely boiling) for 45-60 minutes. Strain the stock and use in soup or store for future use.
GREEN PEA SOUP WITH MINT
From The Kitchen Garden Cookbook
1 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 potato, coarsely chopped
1 lb peas in their pods, coarsely chopped
5 cups chicken or veggie stock
1 tsp sugar
1 sprig of mint
salt and pepper
Cook the onion gently in the butter for 7-10 minutes, stirring until soft. Add the remaining soup ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer gently for at least 20 minutes, until the peas and potato are very soft. Discard the mint. Working in batches if necessary, puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Pass through a coarse sieve or colander to remove the pods and pea skins. Taste and adjust the seasoning. To serve, either reheat, or chill and serve cold. Serve garnished with chopped fresh mint and parsley. A dollop of plain yogurt would also be nice.
SEASONAL TOMATO SOUP
4 cups of canned tomatoes
6 cups of vegetable soup stock
4 cloves garlic, diced or crushed
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups onions, chopped
2 cups cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup red lentils
3 Tbsp grated ginger (optional)
Note: If you don’t have carrots or cabbage, this soup will still taste delicious. Experiment with what you have on hand and discover what you prefer!
Sauté onions and garlic with oil until they become soft. Add soup stock and tomatoes to the onions and garlic. Bring to a simmer. Add carrots, cabbage, and ginger. When the carrots and cabbage are tender, add the red lentils to the soup. When red lentils are cooked (about 15 minutes), turn heat off and enjoy.
BLACK BEAN SOUP
1 lb black beans or kidney beans, or combo, soaked overnight
3/4 cup chopped onions
4 stalks celery, chopped
6 cups ham broth (or use 6 cups water with meaty ham bone or ham hock)
1 bay leaf
1/2 sweet red bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice or red wine vinegar
Drain the beans and give them a good rinse. Add the onions, celery and bay leaf. Cover it up with ham broth (or use water and a ham bone) and simmer for about 1/2 an hour. Add red bell pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, brown sugar, lemon juice or red wine vinegar. Simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove ham bone. Puree the soup, keeping some of the texture. If desired, cut up ham from bone (or leftovers from your roast) and add to soup. Top each serving with a bit of grated cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt, a splash of hot sauce, and a sprinkling of chopped green onions.
Updated from posts originally published in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017