However, elegance was not my main focus. You see, our refrigerator was prodigiously overflowing with roots, greens and herbs, causing peevish humor when the flora thusly fell upon unsuspecting naked feet and toes.
But as I gathered all the veggies, while consuming a wee bit of chocolate for consolation, I thought about how vegetables cause a healthy glow in the skin, increase energy and help one to lose weight. I also realized that making my own Vegetable Soup is a great way to save money, increase nutrition and get beautiful; all for tuppence a bowl!
But a bowl of hot homemade vegetable soup does even more: Auguste Escoffier, the famous French Chef, restauranteur and culinary writer once said, "Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day and wakens and refines the appetite."
Yeah! You tell 'em Auguste!
Okay, enough talk. Haul out your veggies! Pull out your sharpest knife and grab your cutting board! Let's make Homemade Vegetable Soup!
- You can vary the vegetables depending on what you have in your garden or refrigerator. The beauty of making homemade vegetable soup is that it tastes different from batch to batch depending on which vegetables you put in it.
Gluten and dairy-free Homemade Vegetable Soup is low in calories, but high in FLAVOR, nutrition and fiber. I LOVE to have this soup on hand at all times, because when I get the "midnight munchies" I can enjoy this ~ completely guilt free.
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped medium
2-3 stalks celery, chopped medium, including leafy tops
1/2 red pepper, seeded, chopped medium
1 large leek, cleaned, green parts chopped and white part, sliced thin
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 bunch kale ~ Remove the tough spine of the kale, chop the leaves into small pieces
Parsley, finely chopped (I also added a little fresh dill)
7 cloves garlic (individual cloves, not heads of garlic. You can smash the garlic or simply add whole cloves of garlic ~ If you leave them whole they give a lovely light flavor of garlic to the soup, if you smash them, you will get more garlic flavor. Personally I leave them whole since it's less work. You can remove them or eat the soft garlic cloves with the soup.)
Water, Chicken Broth, Beef Broth or Vegetable Broth (I used part water and part chicken broth this time)
1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium/high heat. Add the onions, celery, red pepper and leek; cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft and tender and the onions are turning golden brown.
- You might be wondering if you could simply skip cooking the onions, celery, red pepper and leek, and just throw everything into the pot. Well, the reason we cook the vegetables until the onions turn soft and a light golden brown is that it will give your soup more flavor. If you skip this step your soup will taste more like "boiled vegetables" and we want waaaay more flavor!
- And speaking of flavor, wasn't it Patrick Henry that said in 1755, "Give me flavor or give me death!" Actually... now that I think about it, he actually said, "Give me liberty or give me death" but I'm sure he felt the same way about flavor...
2. Add enough water/stock to completely cover the veggies. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 25-30 minutes.
3. Taste the soup. This is the time to season your soup ~ add salt and pepper to your taste and additional herbs, seasonings and even hot (Tabasco) sauce, if you want. Enjoy!
Toppings for soup: I topped our soup with chopped fresh chives, oregano, basil and parsley... it was so yummy! Go crazy ~ you could top your soup with gluten-free toasted bread or croutons, Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh tomatoes and slivered fresh basil, crumbled crisp-cooked bacon, fresh avocado slices, grated fresh carrot, fresh spinach or shredded lettuce... you get the idea!
- Of course homemade broth is best, but I simply used a gluten-free, organic broth since it's easy and quick and it tastes good.
- Diced canned or fresh tomatoes, add with the broth
- Any fresh, frozen or canned veggies you desire
- You can make your soup heartier by adding cooked meat/chicken or fish. Leftover chili, taco meat and gluten-free spaghetti are great additions, too ~ Perfect for lunch or dinner.
- Oh and if you have any gravy left from a previous meal, stir it in. The gravy will thicken the soup slightly and will add great flavor!