If you’re like me, you salivate over gourmet soup recipes with exotic, esoteric, and expensive ingredients, elaborate preparation techniques, and great gobs of cream and butter.
Then you go to the pantry and ask yourself what’s for dinner that won’t clog your arteries, require you to take out a loan, and will be ready before the children give up and start eating bowls of cereal?
This isn’t fancy, it isn’t esoteric AT ALL, and it requires the very ungourmet use of a can opener. By all means, use fresh or home-canned if you have it. It is tasty, and my neighbor begged me for the recipe, so if you don’t like it I can give you her number and you can discuss it with her.
Truth be told, I change this up a little every time I make it. If I have plenty of this vegetable or that, I’ll add it in. I taste it and tweak the flavors as I go. This is a basic recipe you can dress up or down or modify to make it your own. If you have vegetable stock on hand, feel free to use it instead of the water. I use the seasonings and water to make my own cheater “vegetable stock” because I don’t keep stock around or feel like making soup so I can make soup.
Easy Homemade Plain Old Vegetable Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil drizzle for the pan
1 good-sized carrot diced
1 zucchini or yellow squash, diced
1 28 oz. can of tomatoes, I prefer diced
a couple or three smallish potatoes, diced
1 15 oz. can of black beans (or any kind of beans you like) rinsed
1 15 oz. can of whole kernel corn, drained
a couple of the tomato cans of water
1 tsp. garlic powder
2-3 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ground cumin (or more if you want)
1-2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
dash of hot pepper flakes if you like
your choice of or any combination of the following: uncooked brown rice, pasta, wheat berries, amaranth, quinoa, etc. As for the amount, about one cup if pasta, or 1/2 to 3/4 cup if grains
a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, to taste
Brown the onion in the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
Add the garlic and the carrots and squash and saute for a few minutes until they begin to brown slightly.
Add the tomatoes, potatoes, corn, and beans and the water.
Add as much water as necessary for the level soupiness you prefer, plus a little more because you’re about to add the grains and they will soak up some of the liquid.
Add the rice/pasta/grains.
Add the seasonings: garlic and onion powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer over med-low heat until the potatoes and the grains are cooked. Cook time will vary according to your choice of grains and the dice size of your potatoes and carrots. Test these periodically to determine doneness.
Add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar for a balanced flavor. If you don’t have balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice will substitute. Don’t over do it, start with just a little and taste, taste, taste!
Taste and adjust salt and pepper and vinegar.
Other flavors that won’t go awry if you want to experiment: soy sauce, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, bay leaf, fresh or dried thyme, basil, or savory. You can also substitute your favorite seasoning salt for the salt, especially if you don’t have smoked paprika.
Good with a sprinkle of grated cheese and fresh herbs on top.