Simple Homemade Vegetable Soup

5 from 9 votes

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A vegetable soup recipe is the single most brilliant way to use up what you have in your fridge.

Simple Vegetable Soup

This is the soup to make when you think you have nothing in the house for dinner. The truth is you probably have enough odds and ends in the vegetable drawers to make a wonderful bowl of simple vegetable soup. Think of the recipe below, featuring cabbage, carrots, onions, and cannellini beans, as a template with some suggestions. Follow the general cooking guidelines, subbing in other vegetables as you like.

Remember to start cooking the harder veggies first and add the more delicate ones towards the end of the cooking time so that everything has just the right amount of time in the pot. Having said that, you’re not going to mess this up — reheated leftovers the next day are fabulous.

I like to serve vegetable soup with some simple homemade quick bread, like biscuits, beer bread, popovers, or Irish soda bread.

White bowl of Simple Vegetable Soup.

This Simple Vegetable Soup is the single most brilliant way to use up what you have in your fridge.

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I like to brighten up this soup with a little heat at the end. Whatever you have on hand will do the trick, whether it’s chopped Calabrian chili peppers, a spicy gardieniera mixture or relish, or just some hot sauce.

Vegetable Soup Ingredients

Make any substitutions you like, leave out anything you don’t like or have on hand, and have fun with this recipe!

  • Olive oil – Used to sauté the vegetables for a good base of flavor.
  • Onion – The base of almost any vegetable soup! Try shallots or leeks instead.
  • Carrots – A great pop of orange in this colorful soup.
  • Garlic – Mince the garlic finely.
  • Cabbage – You can buy prepackaged shredded cabbage, but doing it yourself is easy and even cheaper. Just cut a head of cabbage in half, remove the core, and slice thinly to shred.
  • Bell pepper – I like using one yellow and one red bell pepper for variety in color.
  • Fennel – Remove the core before chopping. When it’s cooked, the anise flavor of fennel becomes softer and gentler.
  • Cannellini beans – Make sure to drain the liquid and rinse them for a cleaner taste.
  • Fresh thyme or oregano leaves – Or use a combo of the two herbs.
  • Broth – Use vegetable broth for a vegan or vegetarian soup or chicken broth if you’re not concerned about keeping the soup meatless.
  • Spicy pepper relish – This is optional, but I love the tangy, spicy flavor it adds.
  • Parmesan cheese – Gets sprinkled on top of the soup for a salty, savory finish. Leave out for a vegan soup.
  • Orange zest – Gives the dish a final citrus note; also optional.
Bowl of Simple Vegetable Soup on a wooden table.

Variations

This vegetable soup recipe is super flexible, so feel free to play around with the vegetables. For heartier vegetables like potatoes or celeriac, simmer for a few extra minutes. For tender green vegetables, like sliced asparagus or leafy greens, throw them in towards the end so they blanch and soften but don’t overcook.

How to Make Simple Vegetable Soup

  1. Sauté: Heat the olive oil in a pot and add in the chopped onions, carrots, and garlic. Cook until wilted, then add the cabbage, bell peppers, and fennel. Season and continue cooking until tender.
  2. Simmer: Pour in the cannellini beans and the broth, then bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and top with spicy pepper relish and cheese, if using. Enjoy!
Vegetable soup in pot and being ladled into bowl.

Leftovers and Storage

This soup will last for 5 days in the fridge. Reheat in a pot over medium heat until hot, or heat in the microwave. It can also be frozen in containers for up to 4 months.

What to Serve With Homestyle Vegetable Soup

Vegetable Soup in serving bowls and pot on wood table.

More Vegetable Soup Recipes

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5 from 9 votes

Simple Vegetable Soup

A vegetable soup recipe is the single most brilliant way to use up what you have in your fridge.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 People
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Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 large carrots (halved and sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (seeded and diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (seeded and diced)
  • 1 large bulb fennel (trimmed, cored, and diced)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups 1-inch asparagus pieces
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or oregano leaves (or a combo)

To serve (optional)

  • Spicy pepper relish or hot sauce
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Orange zest

Instructions 

  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onions, carrots, and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes until slightly tender. Add the cabbage, bell peppers, and fennel, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 more minutes. Add the cannellini beans, asparagus, and broth, and simmer for 15 minutes until everything is tender. Stir in the herbs.
  • Ladle it out into bowls, and stir a bit of the spicy pepper relish into any of the portions where heat and piquancy is desired. Sprinkle the cheese and orange zest over any of the bowls.

Notes

This vegetable soup recipe is super flexible, so feel free to play around with the vegetables. For heartier vegetables like potatoes or celeriac, simmer for a few extra minutes. For tender green vegetables, like sliced asparagus or leafy greens, throw them in towards the end so they blanch and soften but don’t overcook.
This soup will last for 5 days in the fridge. Reheat in a pot over medium heat until hot, or heat in the microwave. It can also be frozen in containers for up to 4 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 119.33kcal, Carbohydrates: 19.85g, Protein: 4.4g, Fat: 3.71g, Saturated Fat: 0.52g, Sodium: 1090.08mg, Potassium: 297.52mg, Fiber: 5.3g, Sugar: 4.78g, Vitamin A: 3608.62IU, Vitamin C: 61.56mg, Calcium: 68.95mg, Iron: 1.73mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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5 Comments

  1. Tisha says:

    This soup is so good and so simple. I always make a big batch and freeze some for later

  2. Nora says:

    A veggy soup is always welcome and this one turned out perfectly! So flavorful! Thanks!

  3. Krystle says:

    I love the flavor of the fennel and the creamy texture of the beans in this.

  4. Tiffany says:

    This soup is delicious! The flavors mix so well and it’s an easy way to get more veggies!

  5. Lauren says:

    This is the best soup ever. I’ll be making it again and again!