Grandma Nellie's Garden Soup Recipe

This pot of soup can be customized to fit any family’s palette.

From “The Baker Creek Vegan Cookbook”
Winter 2012/2013

  • The pasta and rice in this soup lend a pleasing, almost stew-like thickness to the dish. If you want the soup thinner, simply omit them.
    Photo by Karen Keb

Yield: 32 cups

This soup — a family favorite — makes an intentionally large batch; it’s meant to be frozen and defrosted whenever a warming bowl of soup is called for. We’ve come up with a foolproof formula that allows you to mix and match vegetables to your liking, giving you maximum flexibility and ease. If you like your soup sweeter, add more sweet roots. If savory’s your thing, take it in that direction with more rutabaga, turnip, and celery root. Herbs, garlic, beans — it’s all up to you, making this bubbling pot utterly customizable. The pasta and rice lend a pleasing, almost stew-like thickness. If you want a thinner, all-vegetable soup, simply omit them and take down the water by a cup or two.

FOR MORE, SEE: Family-Friendly Vegan Recipes


• 1 pound onions, shallots, red onions, or Vidalias, etc.
• 1 pound chopped carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, or celery root, etc.
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 3 cups peeled, chopped potatoes
• 4 to 5 cups chopped greens (Tuscan kale, chard, spinach, or collards, etc.)
• 1 pound cubed squash, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes
• 12 cups water, plus more if necessary
• 3 cups canned whole tomatoes in juice or diced tomatoes
• 1 cup uncooked grains (long-grain rice, rinsed quinoa, barley, or wheat berries, etc.)
• 2 tablespoons salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 3 cloves crushed garlic
• 6 sprigs fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, marjoram, etc.) tied with a piece of kitchen twine
• 1 cup uncooked pasta (any small shape)
• 2 cups cooked beans (garbanzo, kidney, Hutterite, or Borlotti, etc.)


1. Combine all ingredients except pasta and beans in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered until tender and thickened, 3 hours, adding additional water by the cupful if necessary.

2. Add the pasta and beans and cook until tender, an additional 15 minutes.

3. Remove herb bundle, serve as much soup as you want, then cool soup and freeze in small batches. Soup can be stored in freezer, in airtight containers, for up to 3 months.

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