Garden Vegetable Soup
My 10-year-old ate this vegetable soup for breakfast this morning. He told me next time to put more potatoes in it. That won’t be a problem because this garden vegetable soup recipe, courtesy of Alton Brown, is quite flexible. It's also quite good. If you can manage to make a double batch of it before Thanksgiving and freeze it in small portions, you'll have a quick, healthy soup to come home to after a long day of holiday madness.

I chose this recipe because I had a hankering for a vegetable soup with nothing but vegetables in it last week. I didn’t want pasta or barley or chicken in it. Just broth and vegetables. I found this recipe on the Food Network website, bought the vegetables that are in season right now from the farmers market, and used store bought (some even frozen!) for the rest.

What drew me to this recipe besides the fact that it was all vegetables was the fact that it had garlic in it. Even though I love chopping vegetables, I don’t like to chop garlic even though it’s one of my favorite ingredients. For a recipe like this, I find that the already minced garlic in a jar works fine.

Here are the recipe and directions. Below you’ll find my notes.

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white part only (from approximately 3 medium leeks)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds (approximately 2 medium)
  • 2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, broken or cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
  • 2 ears corn, kernels removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup packed, chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Time Estimates

Prep time: 30 min  

Cook time: 45 min  

Total time: 1 hr 15 min  

  1. Heat the olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the leeks, garlic, and a pinch of salt and sweat until they begin to soften, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, and green beans and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the tomatoes, corn kernels, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are fork tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Serve immediately.


Makes about 4 quarts

My notes

  • I used frozen green beans and corn instead of using fresh because they aren’t in season right now.
  • I had a small amount of frozen peas in the freezer that wouldn’t have been enough for a side dish for my whole family so I threw them to use them up. A soup like this is a great way to use up small portions of vegetables.
  • I substituted one large can of petite diced tomatoes with their juices drained for the tomatoes. When tomatoes aren’t in season, canned tomatoes usually have a better flavor.
  • I made the soup with chicken broth. By using the vegetable broth, this soup would instantly become vegan.
  • Leeks are in season right now so they weren’t very expensive at the farmers market. Once out of season they become pretty expensive so I suppose you could substitute mild onions for them. However, if you can afford it, I’d spring for the leaks because they really add a wonderful flavor.  

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Healthy recipe: Garden vegetable soup
A homemade vegetable soup you can change up depending on what vegetables you have on hand.