While this takes a little effort to put together, it's really quite simple:  Veggies, broth and spices.

This is a house favorite and while it does take a bit of prep (chopping, mostly!), it's pretty easy. It's also massively variable: How much of what you put in there is up to you. I've used red onions, yellow onions and a combination. Sometimes I don't have all the ingredients and that's ok. I use what I have.

You can make a fairly small batch (1 Cup per veggie) or a huge one (2 Cups per) or something in between. Feel free to make this your own!

Ingredients

  • 2 T avocado oil
  • One medium onion, coarsely sliced or chopped chopped
  • 2 to 3 T minced garlic
  • 1 to 2 Cups sliced carrots
  • 1 to 2 Cups sliced celery
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Cup red pepper, cut into in small squares
  • 1 to 2 Cups yellow squash, zucchini or eggplant (or all!) cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 to 1 Cup "prepared" mushrooms* (any variety)
  • 1 to 2, 14-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
  • (Optional) 1/2 to 1 Cup frozen sweet or super-sweet corn
  • 4 to 6 Cups Vegetable stock as needed
  • Spices: Nutmeg, Parsley, Basil, Paprika, Marjoram, Thyme, Salt and Pepper (and anything else you want to put in there)

Instructions

  • Prepare (slice or chop) the onion, carrots and celery
  • Saute the onions over medium heat in the avocado oil until partially transparent
  • Add the garlic and saute for another 30 to 60 seconds
  • Add the carrots and celery and stir
  • Cut the red pepper, stirring the pot occasionally as you do
  • Add the red pepper, stir, and cut the squash or zucchini
  • Add the tomatoes, corn and mushrooms (See note on mushrooms, below)
  • Add the spices to your liking (I just add this by eye) and/or use the following suggestions:
    • Just a few shakes of Nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp Paprika (smoked or not)
    • 1/2 to 1-1/2 tsp of Parsley, Basil, Marjoram, Thyme
    • Salt and Pepper to taste (some might also like Red Pepper flakes)
  • Add enough vegetable broth to cover everything, stir and bring to a boil at medium heat
  • Reduce the heat slightly ("3 - 4" on my electric stove)
  • Continue simmering for 1 to 2 hours, until the carrots are mostly soft
  • Add the squash/zucchini/eggplant and cook another 10 minutes
  • Serve!

Notes on preparation:

  • You can add the squash/zucchini/eggplant earlier but they will get quite mushy
  • If your broth has a good, strong taste, you can add enough to cover the veggies and cook the soup in a covered pot
  • If your broth is kind of weak, add more and cook uncovered to boil off some of the liquid
  • Experiment! You can add new ingredients, omit others and play with the spices: We vary this recipe each time and, while some batches are better than others, it's never bad

*"Prepared" Mushrooms

Mushrooms have a lot of moisture in them. For the best results in any recipe, always "prepare" the mushrooms to give them a "meatier" consistency and better taste. This is true for fresh or frozen mushrooms of pretty much any variety. Here's how:

  • Slice or shop mushrooms to size (they will get much smaller as we "prepare" them, so don't chop them too small!)
  • Heat a pan over medium heat and add a few Tablespoons of Avocado or Olive Oil
  • Saute the mushrooms on medium heat until the moisture is pretty much gone (this can take a while for a bag of frozen mushrooms)
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low ("3" on my electric stove) and continue to cook for 30 to 40 minutes (yep, that long), stirring occasionally
  • At that low temperature, they should not burn and they are ready when they are all very dark and shriveled up (bigger pieces might need more time or might not get as dark/small as the other bits--that's ok)

For this recipe, you can cook the mushrooms while the soup is on and add them whenever they are ready.

Instant Pot Method

This can easily be made in a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot. Just do the following:

  • Use the saute function as above for the onions and the garlic
  • Turn off the pot, add all of the remaining ingredients and stir
  • Be careful not to fill the pot above the "max" marking
  • Secure the lid and pressure cook ("high") for 12 minutes
  • Let the pot vent itself, remove the lid and eat!

That's it! It is definitely faster and doesn't really change the taste too much. The biggest downside is that it limits how much you can make.

Ingestion Suggestions

Serve with buttered bread or crackers, if desired.