This Hearty Vegetable Soup is simply packed with plant-based goodness – make a big batch to warm up on chilly days. This delicious veggie soup is vegan / vegetarian and a great way to pack lots of plant-based goodness into your diet.
You will also love my Minestrone Soup
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The minute the weather turns a little chilly I always turn to my favorite vegetable soup recipe for comfort. It is so simple and easy to make and so versatile as well.
Making homemade vegetable soup is a great way for eating a variety of healthy veggies and you can control the amount of salt which usually really high in commercial soups. Check out my tips, tricks and video on how to make it!
Keep the base of the soup the same but feel free to improvise on the remaining ingredients. You can put in any seasonal vegetables you like, adding them to the soup depending on how long they need to cook.
- Vegetable soup base – onions, carrot and celery. These three vegetables are sometimes called Mirepoix and they will add so much flavour to your soup. Cut all the vegetables the same size so they cook evenly.
- Butternut Squash – or you can also use pumpkin
- Potato – if you are planning to freeze the soup you might want to leave it out as diced potatoes don’t freeze all too well
- Tomato purée – I added this for a bit of colour. If you want to dial up the tomato flavour in the soup you can also add one tin of diced tomatoes as well
- Pearl barley – this adds the ‘hearty’ in hearty vegetable soup! You can replace with pasta, rice, giant couscous if you prefer (see notes about adjusting the cooking time)
- Vegetable Stock (low sodium vegetable broth)
- A splash of Tabasco and lemon juice for flavour
- Salt and Bay leaves
- Chopped parsley to serve
How To Make Vegetable Soup
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Please take a look at the steps and video before attempting this recipe!
STEP 1. Spray a deep pot with olive oil cooking spray or use a low calorie cooking spray such as Fry Light.
STEP 2. Add the onions, carrots and celery – these are the base of your soup.
STEP 3. Cook over medium-low heat for about five minutes until slightly softened.
STEP 4. Stir in the tomato purée with a splash of stock in the pot.
STEP 5. Add the butternut squash, potato, pearl barley and stock.
STEP 6. Add a splash of Tabasco, the salt, and bay leaves. Bring the soup to a simmer and partially cover. Cook for 45 minutes or until the barley is al dente – soft but with a little bite still in it. Use the back of a wooden spoon to slightly mash some of the veggies – this will help thicken the soup.
STEP 7. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the chopped parsley and lemon juice. Check the seasoning, adding salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve with a little crusty wholemeal bread – delicious!
Tips and FAQs
NUTRITIONAL INFO This vegetable soup is low in fat and yet so filling! There’s 8 SmartPoints for those following WeightWatchers. One serving of this soup is around 230 calories without any added extras such as croutons or cheese.
GET CREATIVE If you don’t have all the ingredients feel free to improvise. You can add more or different vegetables from what I have used here.
Root vegetables such as parsnips and swede replace the squash or potato. Stir in courgette (zucchini), corn towards the end of your cooking time as they only need a couple of minutes to cook.
IS THIS SOUP VEGAN? This soup is vegan or vegetarian if you are planning to serve it with some grated cheese. You can up the protein in the soup by also adding a tin of beans, drained and rinsed, such as cannellini or haricot.
IS THIS RECIPE GLUTEN FREE? Pearl barley is NOT gluten free! If you want to make this vegetable soup suitable for those who avoid gluten you will need to replace the barley with rice or simply leave it out.
HOW LONG WILL THIS SOUP KEEP? This soup keeps well for 3-4 days in the fridge. The barley has a tendency to absorb more water over time so you will need to add a little water before reheating.
CAN I COOK THIS IN AN INSTANT POT? You can cook the soup in a pressure cooker if you leave out the barley which requires a long cooking time. Replace the barley with a tin of white beans or rice cooking on high pressure for 12 minutes and then releasing the remaining pressure manually.
I love freezing soup to always have a healthy but filling lunch on stand by when I get busy! Since potato doesn’t freeze very well you might want to leave it out. Wait until the soup has cooled down before freezing and hold any garnishes.
Portion into suitable containers, always leaving a small gap to allow for the soup to expand as it freezes. Thaw in the fridge overnight or in the microwave, adding a little water to dilute if needed.
More healthy veggie soups!
Hearty Vegetable Soup
- olive oil cooking spray or 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion , finely diced
- 2 celery sticks , finely diced
- 3 carrots , peeled and finely diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (tomato purée)
- 300 g (2 cups) butternut squash , peeled and cubed
- 1 large potato , peeled and cubed
- 150 g (3/4 cup) pearl barley or rice / small pasta shapes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried thyme or Italian seasoning
- 1.9 litres | 8 cups hot vegetable stock (low sodium vegetable broth)
- Splash Tabasco
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp parsley , chopped
- Salt and pepper to season
- A little grated vegan or vegetarian hard cheese to serve (optional / Healthy Extra)
- Spray a deep pot with olive oil cooking spray.
- Add the onions, carrots and celery – these are the base of your soup.
- Cook over medium-low heat for about five minutes until slightly softened.
- Stir in the tomato purée with a splash of stock.
- Add the butternut squash, potato, pearl barley and remaining vegetable stock.
- Add a splash of Tabasco, the salt, and bay leaves. Bring the soup to a simmer and partially cover. Cook for 45 minutes or until the barley is al dente – soft but with a little bite still in it.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the chopped parsley and lemon juice. Check the seasoning, adding salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Serve with a little crusty wholemeal bread and a sprinkle of grated vegan or vegetarian hard cheese- delicious!