Vegetable Beef Soup

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Category : Holidays, Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian

Vegetable Beef SoupHere’s a soup recipe I made recently from leftover vegetables and herbs that needed to be used before they became too ripe.  The ingredients can be varied in almost every way you can imagine. If you want vegetarian soup, leave out the beef. If you have local chicken or turkey on hand, use that instead of beef. You can leave out or add just about any vegetable that grows around here. If you have homemade soup stock on hand, you can use that instead of water.

For me, the base ingredients I always use are onions, garlic, and carrots. I also like to include potato if I don’t have any soup stock. Potato helps thicken the soup so it’s not watery. I also add some fresh herbs, though the kind varies depending on what I have handy. Ripe local ingredients are so much more flavorful than varieties which have traveled long distances that you probably won’t need as much seasoning as you might think.

Other than that, anything goes. Common sense will guide you to go easy on the quantity of strong tasting vegetables and herbs so they’ll balance with more subtle flavors. It’s a good idea to chop everything about the same thickness so all will be done about the same time. Add a little locally made pasta, or stir in cooked beans for some extra texture and protein.

Even the cooking time can be adjusted to your taste. If you like your vegetables to maintain some crispness, don’t cook the soup as long. If you like well blended flavors, you’ll want to cook it longer. You may even want to prepare soup the day before you eat it so the flavors will continue blending in the refrigerator overnight.

Best of all, you can freeze the leftovers, so make lots!

  • Prep Time:
    30 min
  • Cook Time:
    1 hour
  • Ready In:
    1-1/2 hours
Servings: 3-4 servings
  • Optional: 1/2 lb. ground beef (Hillcrest Farm, Lummi Island)
  • 4 bunching onions, thinly sliced (I used Purple Purplette variety, Hillcrest Farm, Lummi Island)
  • 1 clove green garlic, minced (Rabbit Fields Farm, Everson)
  • 3-4 large carrots or 1 bunch small carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick (Nettles Farm, Lummi Island)
  • 1 small green zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick (Nettles Farm, Lummi Island)
  • 1 small yellow zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick (Hillcrest Farm, Lummi Island)
  • 1 large potato, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes, skin on (Half Acre Farm U-pick, Ferndale)
  • 1 cup peas, shelled (Half Acre Farm U-pick, Ferndale)
  • 4 cups kale, coarsely chopped (Nettles Farm, Lummi Island)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh basil, cut in very thin strips (Nettles Farm, Lummi Island)
  • 2 Tbsp summer savory, finely chopped (Full Bloom Farm, Lummi Island)
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste (see Exceptions)


Brown the beef over medium heat in a large stockpot, breaking it up into small bits. Add the onions and saute a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. (If you want vegetarian soup, omit the beef and saute the onions and garlic in 1 Tbsp butter instead.)

Add carrots, zucchini, potato, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add kale, peas, basil, savory, and the salt. Continue to simmer 20-30 minutes longer. Add more hot water, if needed.

Salt to taste.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve as a one-dish meal, or add some fresh homemade bread (such as Blue Corn Bread), or Avenue Bread rolls, or add a fresh summer salad with your favorite locavore dressing.

Food Sources:

Lummi Island Farmers Market (near ferry dock, Saturdays 10a-2p)
The Islander, Lummi Island (near ferry dock)
Community Food Co-operative, Westerly and Cordata, Bellingham
Terra Organica, Flora and Cornwall, Bellingham

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