The BEST Vegetable Soup

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The Best Vegetable Soup is loaded with tons of veggies, miniature pasta , and a secret ingredient that adds loads of flavor! This healthy soup can be made in one pot in about 30 minutes– maybe less!

Pair this vegetable soup with a crusty baguette or homemade dinner rolls and a simple Italian salad. If you’re looking for a creamy version, try this creamy vegetable soup.

Overhead image of The Best Vegetable Soup, ready to be eaten.

Even as a huge vegetable lover (hi! Yes me!) I can tell you I have had many less-than-stellar vegetable soups in my day. I’ve even had a few vegetable soups that have left me questioning my love for vegetables altogether!

So when I say this is the best vegetable soup ever, I mean it. It’s loaded with flavor, packed with veggies, and surprisingly filling. 

What can I add to The Best Vegetable Soup to boost the flavor?

The flavor secret to this vegetable soup is PESTO. That’s right: pesto is in soup, and it’s the best thing that ever happened to a healthy broth-based veggie soup. Allow me to explain.

Pesto adds loads of flavor without any extra effort. Instead of chopping tons of herbs, grating in Parmesan cheese, or figuring out the perfect blend of spices to add, just add in a big spoonful of fresh, good-quality basil pesto. Swirl it around a bit and be prepared for healthy soup heaven

Overhead image of the pesto that goes in this soup.

Which pesto?

While you can make and use your own basil pesto in this recipe, I recommend picking up store-bought pesto to help you get this soup on your table in 30 minutes or less. When selecting a store-bought pesto, I highly recommend fresh refrigerated (not shelf-stable) pesto. We love Buitoni’s® fresh basil pesto, Rana’s® fresh basil pesto, and Hemi-fares®(store brand) pesto at Smith’s (Kroger) is another one of our favorites. Here are a few other good options.

How do you make soup flavorful?

  • Aromatic vegetables like onion, celery, and carrots add so much to a soup. Sauteing them for a few minutes really amps up the flavor they provide.
  • Beyond the pesto that adds insane amounts of flavor, we also add in a few spices (Italian seasoning and dried thyme).
  • While this might sound obvious, sometimes it’s easy to forget how much flavor salt and pepper add. If you feel the soup is lacking flavor, add in a bit more of both. Salt and pepper didn’t get to be the world’s favorite seasonings for no reason!
  • Using a good-quality brand of fire-roasted diced tomatoes will add tremendous flavor to this soup (I recommend Muir Glen® or San Marzano® — not sponsored). 

The Best Vegetable Soup shortcuts

  • To save yourself chopping time, pick up mirepoix (also called soup starter at some stores). Lots of stores sell pre-chopped mirepoix (a French phrase for diced onion, carrot, and celery) in the produce section. If you’re in a hurry, grab that fresh-chopped mirepoix or you can even use frozen mirepoix.
  • To save yourself chopping time, use jarred garlic or a garlic press. Instead of mincing your own garlic, you can use jarred to save time. Alternatively, a garlic press gives you fresh minced garlic in a fraction of that time that hand mincing requires.

Process shots-- images of the vegetable soup being made: placing mirepoix in the pan; sauteing the chopped vegetables; adding fire-roasted diced tomatoes; adding frozen corn and peas as well as chicken broth.

Variations

  • This soup is heavy on tomatoes (which we love), but if you aren’t a fan of tomato chunks, use fire-roasted CRUSHED tomatoes instead. You can also use just one can if desired.
  • Switch out the beans: Instead of pinto beans, try cannellini beans.
  • Switch up the pasta: If you can’t find miniature farfalle pasta, any small pasta will work. I’d recommend miniature shells, mini fusilli, or corbata (bowtie) pasta.
  • Swap veggies: Really, any veggies can work in this soup. If you don’t like ones listed in the recipe, swap it out for another (just remember to keep quantities fairly consistent). I recommend using frozen veggies for the quickest prep time. Some other veggie ideas: frozen green beans, sweet peppers, broccoli florets, or cauliflower.
  • Add spinach or kale in at the end: Chop 1-2 cups of greens and stir in at the end just until wilted (kale will take longer than spinach to wilt).

Is homemade vegetable soup good for you?

Yes! The Best Vegetable Soup is a great source of many essential vitamins and nutrients. It’s also fairly low in calories but packed with fiber–that helps keep you satiated for long period of time. 

Overhead image of the vegetable soup with pesto on top.

Storage

The Best Vegetable Soup is best eaten the same day it’s made. When stored, the pasta continues to absorb liquid, bloats, and becomes soft and mushy. So if you don’t plan on eating this soup the same day it’s made, I recommend either cooking the pasta separately (and reducing the amount of liquid in the soup) or halving the recipe.

The same thought applies to freezing this soup. Because the pasta continues to take on liquid, this soup isn’t a great candidate for freezing.

More soup recipes:

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The Best Vegetable Soup

5 from 5 votes
The Best Vegetable Soup is loaded with tons of veggies, miniature pasta , and a secret ingredient that adds loads of flavor! This healthy soup can be made in one pot in about 30 minutes-- maybe less!
Print Recipe

The Best Vegetable Soup

5 from 5 votes
The Best Vegetable Soup is loaded with tons of veggies, miniature pasta , and a secret ingredient that adds loads of flavor! This healthy soup can be made in one pot in about 30 minutes-- maybe less!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword vegetable soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Calories 191kcal
Cost $5.20

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup EACH: diced yellow sweet onion, thinly sliced carrots, thinly sliced celery
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH fine sea salt, freshly cracked pepper
  • 8 cups hot water
  • 8 teaspoons chicken boullion granules/powder Note 1
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces EACH) fire-roasted diced tomatoes (Muir Glen or San Marzano recommended)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked mini farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 and 1/2 cups EACH: frozen corn, frozen peas
  • 1 container fresh basil pesto Note 2

Instructions

  • VEGGIES: Place oil in a large pot and heat to medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the thyme, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper (add salt/pepper to taste; you may want to hold off adding salt until the end. I add 1/2 teaspoon of each, but it will vary greatly depending on the broth or bouillon you use.)
  • TOMATOES AND BROTH: Stir in water and chicken bouillon or low-sodium chicken broth and undrained diced tomatoes. Bring soup to a boil over high heat.
  • PASTA: Once boiling, stir in pasta, and cook, stirring occasionally, 6-7 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir in the drained and rinsed beans, corn, and peas just to warm through. Remove from heat, taste/adjust seasonings, and then ladle soup into bowls. Add a generous spoonful of fresh basil pesto to each bowl. Stir in the pesto and enjoy!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Alternatively, use chicken broth two 32-ounce containers). This soup can be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
Note 2: Make your own or use a fresh-refrigerated (not shelf stable) basil pesto.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 8servings | Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 34.1g | Protein: 7.6g | Fat: 3.9g | Sodium: 32.8mg | Fiber: 5.9g | Sugar: 5.2g

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9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Man, I just love a good vegetable soup. Stuck at home right now so I’ve been cooking a LOT. Adding this to my list.

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