Hearty Vegetable Soup

With all of the overindulging that comes with the holiday season, here’s one recipe that will warm you up without weighing you down. This is by far the best vegetable soup I have ever eaten! The rich and flavorful broth is enhanced by roasted vegetables and a full head of garlic. Once the garlic has been roasted and simmered, it is squeezed out of its skin and into the broth to thicken and flavor it. A hearty blend of vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, celeriac, and lima beans, are then added to the stock to create a balanced, hearty vegetable soup. If your New Years resolution is to eat healthier and shed a few pounds, this flavorful soup is a surefire way to keep you on track!

One Year Ago: Cinnamon Roasted Almonds 

Hearty Vegetable Soup

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For the Stock:

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped medium
  • 1 rib celery, chopped medium
  • 1 medium onion, chopped medium
  • 3 medium portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium head garlic, outer papery skins removed and top third of head cut off and discarded
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (heaping)
  • 9 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 medium leeks (about 1 pound), green parts chopped, white parts sliced thin crosswise
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed

For the Soup:

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, tomato pieces chopped coarse
  • 2 small russet potatoes (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 medium celeriac (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 small head escarole (about 12 ounces), washed, stemmed, and leaves cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 heaping cups)
  • 1 cup frozen baby lima beans (6 ounces) defrosted
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper


  1. To make the stock, heat oven to 450 degrees. Place carrot, celery, onion, portobellos, and garlic head in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Add tomato paste and toss until evenly coated. Spread vegetables in even layer on a rimmed baking sheet, set garlic head cut-side up; roast until vegetables are well browned, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven combine roasted vegetables, broth, leek greens, parsley, thyme, bay, and porcini; cover and bring to simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes. Remove garlic head; using tongs, squeeze garlic head at root end until cloves slip out of their skins. Using fork, mash garlic to paste in small bowl and set aside. Strain stock through large fine-mesh strainer, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids in strainer.
  3. To make the soup, rinse out and wipe Dutch oven; add tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, celeriac, reserved whites of leeks, strained broth, and garlic paste to pot and bring to simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender when poked with a paring knife, about 25 minutes. With back of wooden spoon, mash some potatoes against side of pot to thicken soup. Stir in escarole and lima beans; cook until escarole is wilted and limas are heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley; adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Source: Cook’s Illustrated, September 2003

9 Responses to “Hearty Vegetable Soup”

  1. #
    rumpydog — December 28, 2011 @ 8:26 am

    that looks good!

  2. #
    felisrecipes — December 28, 2011 @ 8:37 am

    Looks so comforting and warming …

  3. #
    Michael Ann — December 28, 2011 @ 8:46 am

    This looks absolutely fantastic! Thank you for the healthy recipe!

  4. #
    ChgoJohn — December 28, 2011 @ 10:26 am

    Wow, Christina! This is about the heartiest vegetable soup I’ve ever seen.

  5. #
    Karista — December 28, 2011 @ 11:03 am

    Mmmm… This looks delish! Perfect for the days of winter. Love your blog!

  6. #
    Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide — December 28, 2011 @ 11:21 am

    That looks hearty, but doesn’t make me groan. I need something like that these days.

  7. #
    Just A Smidgen — December 28, 2011 @ 11:42 am

    We will be skiing today… I wish I could have a bowl of this just waiting for me when I get home!

  8. #
    Chica Andaluza — December 29, 2011 @ 1:51 am

    Beautiful and the garlic makes it perfect!

  9. #
    Karen — December 29, 2011 @ 7:24 am

    The soup has to to great. The mushrooms in the stock must give it great depth of flavor.

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