This time of year when gardens and farmers markets are loaded down with excess vegetables it is the perfect time to make a big pot of vegetable soup. I know what you are thinking; it’s still summer and you haven’t even begun to consider soup. Really, you should!! Now is the perfect time to make a big batch of soup like this and freeze the extras for dinner when the weather is a bit cooler.
My garden vegetable soup is loaded with veggies, greens, fresh herbs, and then finished with a healthy dose of lemon juice as it comes off of the stove to make all of those flavors really pop. I have made this soup with fresh squeezed orange juice instead of lemon and it is equally amazing.
When I am making this to eat immediately, I like to add a handful of gluten free orzo, shredded kale, and fresh herbs towards the end of the cook time, but when I am making the soup to freeze I leave those three ingredients and the final spritz of citrus juice out and add them when I am reheating the soup instead. I personally prefer my greens and herbs to be fresh; when they are frozen in a soup they just lose their edge. Also, having the ability to change up the flavors of the soup when I reheat it is always a great option to have.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ cups chopped leeks, white part only
- 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds
- 1 cup peeled and diced sweet potatoes
- 1 cup fresh green beans, tipped and tailed then cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes (*See note*)
- 1 ear of corn, kernels removed
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup gluten free orzo, optional (**See note**)
- 2 cups shredded Lacinato kale
- ¼ cup packed, chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
- ¼ cup packed, chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Additional chopped parsley, basil, and thyme, optional
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed stock pot 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 or 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- 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 for 14 minutes. Add the gluten free orzo, cover and continue cooking 8 minutes, then add the shredded kale. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender and the kale has wilted.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, basil, thyme, and lemon juice. Serve immediately topped with more fresh herbs if desired.
** If you decide to add the optional pasta you will need to adjust the time you add it in based off of the amount of time it takes to cook. My gluten free orzo takes 11 minutes to cook so I added it after 14 minutes of the total cook time had elapsed.