Weekday Vegetable Soup

Weekday Vegetable Soup Recipe

Vegetable soup has become a staple lunch of weekdays around here. I like the idea that you can combine a good range of ingredients into one bowl of soup goodness, and I typically use whatever vegetables I have on hand, some beans and/or grains, and a few spice accents. When you invest the time to make a pot of soup, it rewards you with days of effortless, nutritious, substantial meals, and it saves us from eating lunch out more than we'd like. This relatively straight-forward version has a simple basil pistou finish - a vibrant streak of magic that elevates the rest of the bowl. Allow me tell you a bit about where we enjoyed it.

One of the first purchases I made for the QK studio was a little white bench. It is sturdy and unassuming, and desperately needs a fresh coat of paint. This bench seats two comfortably, three very awkwardly. When I bought it, I imagined we'd arrange it outside on days when it is sunny, and we'd enjoy lunch, or drinks, or conversation while sitting in the sunshine. To date, it has been used for just about everything but. The bench primarily lives indoors, and silently suffers under piles of books and folders related to various projects. I clear it on occasion because it is a brilliant stepping stool, and, in a pinch, a darn good photo surface. But, for lunch yesterday, I cleared it off, pulled it into place in front of the big, sunny windows, and we had bowls of the soup and watched the parade of people making their way down the block - big dogs and small, their walkers, the school children walking to the community center, and the old man who knows there is a secret mirror on the backside of the pillar in front of our door.

Weekday Vegetable Soup Recipe

Weekday Vegetable Soup Recipe

Weekday Vegetable Soup

1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 cup chopped leeks
8 stalks of celery, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon caraway seed, crushed
1 teaspoon chile flakes
1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes

1 lb. cooked white beans (I used giant corona)
7 cups of water
2-3+ teaspoons fine grain sea salt, or to taste

1 cup basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup freshly shredded Parmesan
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil

to serve: cilantro or radish flowers (optional)

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat place the olive oil, red onion, leeks, and a pinch of salt. Stir well, and cook until the leeks begin to take on a hint of color. At this point stir in the celery, caraway, and chiles, then saute, stirring regularly, until everything begins to caramelize and take on color. Stir in the tomatoes, followed by the beans, and then the water. There should be more than enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a simmer for at least ten minutes, although I like to simmer it longer if I have the time. Stir in the salt, and adjust if needed.

While the soup is simmering use a mortar and pestle (or chop by hand) to smash the basil and salt into a paste - the smoother the better. Add the Parmesan and olive oil, a bit at a time, and work into a green drizzle.

Serve each bowl of soup topped with a generous drizzle of the pistou. And a bit of cilantro or edible flowers to finish.

Serves 6.

Prep time: 15 min - Cook time: 20 min

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This looks so gorgeous and delicious.


yummy!! so delicious and perfect for a rainy day.


Any week I make a big pot of soup is already a very good week. Lately it's sausage and lentil, but I'm trying yours next! Love those big coronas.


The bench is beautiful :) and so are the bowls. Makes me want to replace some of my chipped soup bowls.

Happy Earth Day!


I love corona means, and I feel like caraway is an underused spice in my house. Thanks for the inspiration!


Yeah for light spaces, hidden reflections, and anything but mundane soup. Had some socca for the first time (how have I missed it) last night and thought of this space. On my lunch list with this.


I love those big beans -- their buttery flavor works so well in soups. Love this recipe.

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth

chile... sigh... again with the heat... I'm beginning to despair of ever making any of your savory recipes without having to adjust it for my inability to digest spicy ingredients. Sure, I can leave them out, but in recipes with so few ingredients, it's noticeable. I dare you to come up with one recipe without chillis, chile, curry paste, harissa, hot sauce, pepper flakes, cayenne or chili. :)


Absolutely gorgeous, makes me crave soup for breakfast. Are the white flowers dill flowers ? How about the purple ? I adore them!

HS: They're tiny radish blossoms :)

Ciao Florentina

Just cooked my first pot of giant corona beans. My new favorite beans. Now I know what I'll do with the next batch I cook -- a pot of Weekday Vegetable Soup.


Fantastic ingredient list, every flavor a winner with the next!

Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

Absolutely lovely. Now that local fresh basil is in the market, I just made my second batch of pistou for lunchtime soup. It is my favourite thing to add to simple vegetable soups for a perfect spring lunch. And your soup looks particularly delicious too. Great bench!


Ever since seeing that Rancho Gordo email featuring those beans, I've been dying to try them out! This might have to be what gets me there. This looks fantastic, thank you!

Sarah from Soymilk + Honey

This post could not have come at a better time! I'm a member of the Rancho Gordo Bean Club and just received my Giant Corona beans. Soup it is! Btw-those beautiful bowls look like the work of Sarah Kersten? As always, thank you for your wonderful posts. Cheers!

Laurie Winter

ahhh vegetable soup for lunch. so good. is that a shaker bench?! reminds me of shaker furniture that they used to use in churches / schoolhouses. minus the tomatoes, this soup is almost like an italian vignarola!


Vegetable soup makes a great lunch, thanks a lot for posting this great recipe.:)


Any suggestions to substitute for the parmesan cheese? I am unable to have dairy--allergy related :( Can it simply be left out or what else is a good substitute? Thank you


Your description of how soup can reward us with days of effortless meals is so well said. I love giant white beans and use them often in soups, so I love seeing your perspective on the humble bean and vegetable soup. Must make this pistou!

Katie @ Whole Nourishment

Mmm, lovely! Veggie soup is perfect: such a healthy comfort food!


Those big, gigantic beans are calling my name. I need to make a batch of this this weekend for next week's lunches. Yum!


A pretty similar soup is my go-to soup on weekday nights. Yum!


Hi Heidi,
I think your soups are my favorite category of your recipes, they always serve as such useful templates to get creative with. I have been noticing the bowls that you have been eating them out of, and I went back through a number of past posts to see if you mentioned them, and checked Quitokeeto, but they're not there either. The look like the perfect size, and I love the speckled glaze. Would you be up for sharing where they're from? xo to you and W.

Hi Rachel - I think you're referring to the Colleen Hennessey bowls. I actually have a lot of them at the QK studio right now, and hope to list them on the site soon. Anyone on the mailing list will get the heads up in the coming weeks. :) xo


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