You'll use this easy technique whenever you're in the mood for a comforting bowl of soup this winter.

By Sarah Carey
October 16, 2018
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Marcus Nilsson

If there's a food more suited for cold weather than a steaming pot of vegetable soup, we have yet to find it. But too many of the versions out there are bland and uninspiring, with limp, insipid vegetables. That's why we came up with this handy choose-your-own-adventure formula. No matter what type of vegetables you use, it yields a big batch of soup that's full of flavor and texture. It's the kind of nourishing meal that the whole family will be happy to eat all season long, especially if served alongside a couple of crostini. Follow our general guidelines below, and remember, don't stress-soup is as forgiving as it is versatile.

1. ALWAYS START BY SAUTÉING AROMATICS

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high. Add 1 cup chopped onion or other allium (leeks, shallots, scallions), 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 3/4 cup diced carrot, and 1/2 cup diced celery. Season with salt and cook, stirring, until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.

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2. DEEPEN THE BASE

Stir in 1 teaspoon dried oregano or thyme (or 2 to 3 sprigs fresh) and/or 1 tablespoon tomato paste or a Parmesan rind for flavor.

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3. GIVE SOME HEFT

Add 2 cups peeled and diced hard, starchy vegetables, like potatoes, parsnips, turnips, or squashes.

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4. PICK A LIQUID

Pour in 8 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

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5. BRING THE FRESH

Put in 1 to 2 cups quick-cooking vegetables cut into bite-size pieces, like green beans, broccoli, zucchini, peas, and/or corn (unless using frozen; in that case, add in step 6). Return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 5 minutes more.

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6. ADD TEXTURE

Stir in 1 cup cooked rice, pasta, or canned chickpeas or other beans or legumes, plus 1 to 2 cups chopped leafy greens, such as spinach, arugula, kale, or Swiss chard. Heat through.

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7. SERVE OR SAVE

Ladle into bowls; drizzle with more olive oil, Parmesan, and fresh herbs. Make crostini for dipping. To freeze the soup: Let cool, then ladle into resealable plastic bags. Freeze flat on a cookie tray, then stack horizontally.

Get the Simple Crostini Recipe

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