This is the soup that I make once a week as soon as the weather begins cooling down. A few days ago I had a friend over to study for finals, and we had this soup for lunch. My friend asked for the recipe, so I wrote it up, and wanted to share it with you guys too. It’s based on the soup that Austin’s mom made when we visited IL a few Christmases ago (that’s right, I’ve been making this soup on a weekly basis every fall and winter for multiple years and am not sick of it yet). The savoy cabbage holds up well, and is noodle-like when cooked. This is best enjoyed as a chunky vegetable soup. If you are going to puree it, maybe leave out the cabbage. As with most soups, feel free to swap out vegetables you’re not as fond of for your favorites. My newest addition to the basic vegetables I always use is the beet root! Beets give the already gorgeously hued soup a vivid fuchsia tone, and add a bit of sweetness.
- Potatoes- whatever kind you like best. I use 6-8 if they’re small, and 3 or 4 if they’re large (like russets)
- Carrots- again, use less if you have giant carrots, but around 4 is a good number
- Cabbage- I think that savoy (the green kind that is very textured and round, not the long frilly kind), and red work best, but experiment! I just use a small amount, like 1/8 of a regular sized cabbage, or a 1/4 of a small cabbage. Too much cabbage can overwhelm a soup.
- Beets- 1-2 small, or 1 large
- Yellow Onion- 1 large
- Two cans of your favorite bean (I like red kidney, but black beans, or even garbanzo would probably be good)
- 46oz can of V8 (I use the original kind, but if you’re worried about salt you can get low sodium, and if you like spicy food, you can use spicy v8)
- Broth, or water, to finish covering the veggies
- Oil, a tablespoon or 2, for sautéing the onion
- Dried basil & oregano, to taste. I use just under a tablespoon of each, but it’s probably best to start with less and add more if it needs it
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- A big pot (mine is 5 quarts, if you only have smaller pots, use a little less of each ingredient).
First, cut up the onion. I cut mine in half one, then cut each half into thin slices. If you like smaller chunks, cut the slices in half as well. Drizzle some oil in the pot, and heat it up (low to medium heat). I usually use a couple tablespoons. While the oil is heating, start cutting the carrots into thin medallions. The oil should be hot enough to toss in the onions. Stir them to make sure they’re coated with the oil, and put the lid on.
Cut up the potatoes into even, bite-sized cubes. Occasionally stop to stir the onions so they don’t burn. If they’re getting brown too fast, lower the heat. Dice the beet into even sized cubes. Slice the cabbage into long thin strips. You can cut them into shorter strips if you like, but keep them thin (1/4-1/8 of an inch). By now the onion should be browned, so you can go ahead and add the diced potatoes, beets, and sliced carrots to the pot. Stir them around, because they’ll start to stick to the bottom.
When the veggies are well incorporated, add the oregano and basil*, and stir everything again. Now you can pour in the V8. It should just about cover your vegetables. Depending on how thick or broth-y you like your soup, you can add more or less vegetable broth or water to the soup. I add enough so that I can easily stir the soup and the vegetables aren’t stuck on the bottom of the pot. The soup will thicken a little as it cooks.
After I add the broth, I add the cabbage. Then I stir it up, and set a timer for 30-35 minutes, and I turn up the heat on the burner to medium-high. After a half an hour, use a spoon to fish out some of the potatoes and carrots and see how done they are. If they’re tender, you can open the cans of beans and rinse them, and add them to the pot. If they’re still firm, cook for another 5 minutes, and then add the beans**. Overcooking the soup should be avoided, because the potatoes will fall apart and your soup will be mushy and it will be sad.
After adding the beans, depending on how tender the veggies are, cook your soup for another 5-10 minutes (if they’re still firm, cook for ten, if they’re getting tender, cook for 5). Remove from heat before the potatoes and carrots are completely tender, because the residual heat will keep cooking them while they’re in the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste! I think this soup benefits from a lot of pepper. Enjoy (especially tasty with a toasted slice of ciabatta and the vegan buttery spread of your choice)!
*Sometimes I add the oregano and basil before I pour in the V8 and broth, and sometimes I do it after. It doesn’t really matter when you do this step, just as long as they make their way into the soup at some point.
**The beans are also not finicky when it comes to incorporating them into the soup. In the video I neglected to show when I add them, but you can even wait until the soup is done, and add them in at the end. The heat of the soup will warm them up easily.