Quick vegetable soups

A few ladies asked for my recipe for tomato soup. It's one of my quick soups and being so easy to prepare it's a very handy recipe to have on hand to use for a wide range of vegetables.  The one recipe will help you prepare a lot of different soups. These are my go-to meal when I don't have much time or when we've been out and instead of buying takeaway food, I make up a quick soup and have it on the table in 30 minutes. The prep time is about five minutes, the rest is cooking time.


This basic process can be used for vegetables such as tomatoes, capsicums/peppers, celery, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach/chard/silver beet/Asian greens, peas, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini/courgettes.

Using the trio of onion, carrots and celery - the flavour base of many European recipes, you can build a complex flavour in even a simple soup that doesn't necessarily need homemade stock. You can use stock if you have some on hand, but it's not absolutely necessary. When I don't have stock, I finish off with a little cream, but that is optional, it's just a flavour enhancer.

The following recipe makes enough tomato soup for 4 serves.
  • At least 500g/1lb tomatoes,  roughly chopped - you can use more for a more intense flavour
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • Add the herbs you like - I used a couple of sprigs of rosemary, dried oregano and some Italian thyme. 
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Cream (optional)
  • Chicken stock (optional) or water
  • Salt and pepper
After you've roughly chopped the above, add it to a saucepan with 1.5 litres of water or stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until all the vegetables have softened. Puree the vegetables using a stick blender, then taste, season or add cream if necessary, and serve.  It will taste even better the following day.

 Potato soup with parsley.
Fresh green pea and pods soup.

Generally, to make up any of these soups, use your flavour base of chopped onion, celery and carrot with the water or stock, and instead of using tomato as your main flavour, use whatever you have on hand.  Cook until the vegetables are soft, puree with a stick blender, taste, season if necessary, add cream if needed and serve.

It's a filling, healthy meal that doesn't take much time to prepare and won't break the bank. You can combine different vegetables to create different tastes - sweet potato, potato and pumpkin is a real hit here. I hope you try this then write a few notes about it to tuck into your favourite cookbook. It will serve you well over the years.

21 comments

  1. Thankyou Rhonda. I'm one of those people who follows recipes and have wanted to be able to make things on my own. You've explained everything so well here and I'm confident I can make a soup of any flavour now.

    I always have a lot of veggies on hand as well as ample stock in the freezer. With winter coming I can see a lot of hot soups for lunches and dinners. Now I can explore.

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  2. Rhonda, thankyou so much for this recipe, a great one for "hiding" vegetables in.

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  3. Hi Rhonda, have you tried this recipe with tinned tomatoes, and is it as nice?

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    1. Hi Cheryl. I have used tinned tomatoes in this soup and found them to be very tart. I had to add a spoon of sugar to offset the taste. Fresh is definitely best in this but if tinned tomatoes are all you have, that's what you use. When using tinned, add one or two of the strong flavour enhancers such as garlic and rosemary.

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  4. The flavours will be even better when you first shortly bake the Union and garlic, than add the vegetables and then after several minutes add the water.
    Basis of all my soups: Union, garlic and any kind of vegetable you can find. Also a very good way to use left over vegetables and herbs.

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    1. For other readers: "the union" is the onion, carrot and celery, known as mirepoix or the trinity in other countries.

      Lobke, I've tried this but the onion, celery and carrot are all watery vegetables and they take a quite a while to bake enough to caramelise and develop flavour. It adds at least 30 minutes to the cooking time. It's great to do it when you have the time but for a quick soup, it's too long.

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  5. I use the root veg celaric instead of celery, which can be stringy.

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  6. Isn't it lovely that the Autumn weather has arrived now and soups are on the menu again! I've just taken some pumpkin and carrot soup out of the freezer ready for a quick meal tonight. I will definitely try your recipe for tomato soup, Rhonda. It looks delicious. Meg:)

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  7. I agree Rhonda tinned tomatoes can be quite tart and need sugar we had a tomato sauce last night that I made from fresh tomatoes and you can certainly taste the difference.

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  8. Great basic recipe to adapt. Thanks Rhonda. As another time saver for autumn and winter i pre chop carrot, celery and onion or leek finely and freeze in ziplock bags (sometimes i use food processor to make it even quicker but i do enjoy the slightly meditative process of chopping the veg by hand). That way i can grab a quick handful of each to start off soups, stews and pasta sauces throughout the cooler months. It can also be a money saver too.
    Cheers, Laura

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  9. I struggle with soups because I am deathly allergic to both celery and carrots (as well as everything else in that family - which includes celeriac, parsley, parsnip, dill, fennel, coriander, and a few other things you probably wouldn't put in soup anyway, like anise and caraway.) I've tried things like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, but they tend to taste bitter, especially if you cook them for any length of time. And soup made with just onions in the base tastes a bit boring. Anyone have any suggestions for other vegetables or flavor substitutions that might make my soup taste more like soup is supposed to taste?

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    1. What a horrible allergy to have. I think potato and onion would be a good combo with either broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower.

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    2. Maybe try onion, garlic and leek sautéed slowly (really slowly) in butter as a base. maybe even adding a teaspoon of sugar. The caramelized onion would add some to the sweetness missing from lack of carrots and the leek has a grassy flavor missing from lack of celery. I would also always use broth in your situation. and thyme and bay as seasoning. And I second Rhonda's suggestion of potato to smooth out the bitter from cruciferous vegetables.

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    3. Thanks for the suggestions! I LOVE potatoes, but never thought to try them in a soup base. And I also didn't realize that leeks had a different flavor from onions. I'll have to give that a try. I've been thinking of trying sweet potatoes to add some of the sweetness missing from carrots - seems a little odd, but hey, what do I have to lose? :-)

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    4. You have nothing to lose Catlady so try the sweet potato and anything else that you might fancy. Good luck.

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    5. One of my boys favorite soups is a cauli/potato/bacon soup. So good! Pure comfort food. Its also nice and thick, so easy to eat with wobbly little hands. :)

      Add butter to the pan, fry up diced backon til crispy, add diced onion and garlic. Then peel potato and roughly chop, roughlu chop cauli, add to the pot, cover with water and simmer till everything is cooked through. Then blitz till smooth. season to tase, and add parmasan to taste if you so desire! :)

      xx

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  10. Rhonda, you would be a hit at our Library's charity event, Biggest Morning Soup. Delish!

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  11. Thank-you for these great recipes Rhonda We love soup and it is our regular daily lunch (except in the summer.) I always have lots of good stock (made from hocks, chicken carcasses etc.) in the freezer. I puree excess veggies like zuks and tomatoes and freeze these too. All bits and pieces of leftover this and that are frozen and then added when I make soup. I use my big slow cooker and put in additional veggies, herbs as I go. Only thing is the soups are never the same!! Your recipes will remedy that and I can have some "named soups" on hand. Our soup is generally known as "surprise" soup. I have lots of leeks growing and will use your recipe to make real leek soup. Many thanks. Jo

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  12. We love soups and your recipe looks very versatile Rhonda. If I have plenty of time to let the soup pot simmer on the stove I add about 1/2 cup of barley and cook until it is soft. I love its flavour and texture.




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  13. Off topic. What happened to the post in ageing? I went to show someone that beautiful piece and cannot find it. Thank you

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    1. Jody, finding anything on here is easy now. Simply type in your key words - in this case "ageing" and the search engine will bring up all the ageing posts.

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