Healthy Recipe of the Week: Chunky Vegetable Soup

This hearty soup is full of vitamins and antioxidants, and is extremely easy to make.

This chunky vegetable soup is vegan and gluten-free. Photograph by Ali Eaves.

Like most nutritionists, Faye Mitchell isn’t a fan of cleanses or extreme diets.

The change she most often recommends for those trying to clean up their eating habits in the new year is adding lots of fruits and veggies. To that end, she recently created a soup recipe that’s extremely veggie friendly—not to mention hearty, inexpensive to make, and delicious.

Thanks to its base of crushed tomatoes, it’s full of lycopene, which is thought to protect against certain diseases like prostate cancer. The number of brightly colored vegetables means it’s high in a variety of vitamins and antioxidants—especially vitamin A—and the onion and garlic are thought by some to have healing properties.

Like last week’s pesto recipe, there’s nothing but healthy ingredients in this dish, and it’s vegan and gluten-free.

In a hurry? The frozen mixed vegetables make the soup customizable and easy to whip up in a pinch—plus frozen vegetables are just as healthy as fresh.

“They’re picked at their peak and immediately blanched and frozen so they retain their nutrients,” Mitchell says.

For a filling, wholesome meal, Mitchell suggests serving the soup with thick slices of multigrain bread. “Look for some bread that has actual seeds inside of it, which gives you a very good source of fiber,” she says.

Yield: About 7 servings
Calories per serving: 213

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
6 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
1 large clove garlic, crushed
5 cups water
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 package of frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

1)    Start with a large stock pot. Sauté onion and celery over medium heat in olive oil until soft and golden but not brown.
2)    Stir in carrots and potatoes and sauté for five minutes.
3)    Stir in garlic and cook for one minute.
4)    Add water, tomatoes, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Depending on what vegetables you’re using, you could add them now or up to an hour later. We used peas, corn and green beans, so we added them shortly before serving.
5)    Heat to boiling.
6)    Reduce heat to low
7)    Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1½ hours.
8)    Remove bay leaf and serve.

Faye Mitchell is a registered and licensed dietitian.