Hearty Vegetable Soup Makes the Most of Leftovers

Hearty Vegetable Soup is Perfect for a Sick Day!

My wonderful neighbor who has been so good to me the past few years has been under the weather lately. I tried to think of all the things I could do to help out from picking up the mail to driving to the store. Finally, it hit me; a hearty vegetable soup in a rich chicken stock base would be perfect! After a quick raid of my freezer (I am a saver of all bits and pieces of food), I pulled together a heartwarming, soul-satisfying tomato, broccoli, chickpea, zucchini, and pasta soup – with leftovers to spare.

I realize the list of additions below seems rather lengthy but you don’t need them all. Feel free to try different combinations or just add the things your family likes to eat.

Hearty Vegetable Soup Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon basil (dried)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (dried)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Additions (Choose Any Combination)

  • 1-2 tomatoes, diced (peel on or off)
  • broccoli, blanched or steamed, cut up
  • cauliflower, blanched or steamed, cut up
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup cooked corn
  • 2 zucchini, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup broken spaghetti or other small pasta


Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, carrot and celery. Saute for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the garlic, basil and oregano. Stir. Then add the tomato paste and stir to mix with veggies. Finally, add the stock and turn up the heat. When the soup base hits a simmer add enough salt/pepper to taste. Hint: you’ll probably need about a teaspoon of salt and a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Now it’s time to add your fixin’s. I usually save bits of veggies (leftovers which were cooked – saves time when making this) and freeze in small bags, including chopped tomatoes which lose texture when frozen and thawed but still add flavor. I add whatever is on hand; at least 3 types of veggies, some beans (garbanzo, cooked white beans, etc.) and pasta. Cook for about 5 minutes (enough for the pasta to absorb some of the water.) Add the zucchini last (to avoid super mushy zucchini!)

The soup is ready for tasting before the final addition of salt/pepper and possibly a squeeze of lemon. I always have lemon on hand to lighten and brighten my food – it’s a personal preference but often is what you want when someone says “this dish is missing something.”

Hope this soup brightens your day and your table!

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I’m a tech marketer by day and a wannabe cook once my laptop powers down. These days, the line between quitting time and play is pretty thin. It's why I like a little discovery in the kitchen— creativity in prep and ingredients—to take the edge off the mundane and make food and feasts fun. Because let’s face it, if it’s not fun, then somewhere, somehow, you’re doing it wrong.

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