This healthy vegetable soup is the best way to celebrate summer produce! Fresh sweet corn, peppers and tomatoes are combined with a few other summer staples for a light but flavorful soup that's ready in just over 30 minutes.
Summer: it's really, definitely, 100% here. It's hot outside, in the afternoon there's always a thunderstorm and walking outside requires sunglasses and sunscreen.
If you're lucky, you have an abundant garden filled with summer veggies and herbs. Or if you're like me, you're thankful for your local farmers market/grocery store for supplying fresh summer produce.
Wondering what to do with all that wonderful summer produce? This soup is the ticket.
- Diet-friendly: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free
- Quick & easy: just slice up a bunch of veggies, sauté and cook until tender
- Customizable: works with whatever veggies and herbs you have on hand
Ingredients and substitutions
Any summer vegetable is allowed in this soup, but these are the ones I think go best.
- Fresh sweet corn sliced straight off the cob. You can also use frozen corn.
- Bell peppers: Choose red or orange bell pepper for a sweeter flavor or green bell pepper for a light, fresh taste.
- Zucchini and summer squash are good for more than just zucchini banana muffins and zucchini corn fritters! Feel free to use just one or both kinds of squash.
- Tomatoes: Dice a large beefsteak tomato or add sliced cherry tomatoes. A can of diced tomatoes works if you can't find a good fresh tomato.
- Lima beans. Also known as butter beans, this legume is a common staple in the South, with just 1 cup providing 15 grams of protein. Frozen beans are used in this recipe because fresh is not as easily accessible as most summer veggies.
- Green beans: Make sure to snap off the ends of these fresh, crispy green beans before adding them to the soup.
- Baby potatoes make this soup a little heartier. Russet or Yukon gold also work.
- White beans makes this soup a little higher in protein. Cannelini beans, Great northern beans and chickpeas are all good options.
- Vegetable broth is a very important part of this recipe. Choose a broth with a flavor that you love or use a homemade broth. Vegetable bouillon cubes mixed with water also work well; just follow package instructions for the bouillon to water ratio.
Step by step instructions
Step 1. Chop, chop, chop: most of the active time is spent slicing the veggies. Slice the zucchini into half moons, cut the potatoes into 1" pieces, dice onions, and slice remaining veggies into 1" pieces. Avoid a fine dice; no one wants mushy vegetable soup!
Step 2. Sauté onion and rosemary in olive oil until browned. Add garlic and sauté for a minute more, until browned and aromatic. Carefully remove the rosemary.
Step 3. Add all of the the veggies, vegetable broth, and chopped parsley. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer over medium-low. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender.
Step 4. Taste for salt and pepper. Garnish with additional parsley and a sprinkle of fresh parmesan.
For best quality, keep refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days.
Eggplant, okra and mushrooms are great additions. If using mushrooms I recommend sautéing them with the onion to enhance their flavor.
I recommend sticking with fresh rosemary for this recipe because it contributes a lot to the soup flavor. You can replace fresh parsley with 1 tablespoon dry.
Fresh vs. frozen produce
Fresh produce is not necessarily healthier than frozen and canned produce. However, produce purchased in-season is likely more nutritious than the same produce purchased out of season.
Fruits and veggies purchased in-season usually require less transit time from farm to store, which means their nutrients are more likely to be preserved by the time they make it to your plate.
Frozen vegetables are picked and frozen at their peak ripeness, making them nutritionally equivalent to in-season vegetables. Canned vegetables are also nutritionally equivalent, but they are usually higher in sodium due to preserving methods.
The bottom line: Fresh, frozen and canned vegetables are all good options. If you want to make a summer vegetable soup in winter, you can save money and guarantee peak nutrition by using canned or frozen veggies.
Looking for more summer recipes?
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Summer Vegetable Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 0.5 pounds zucchini sliced into half moons
- 0.5 pounds summer squash sliced into half moons
- 2 ears sweet corn kernels removed
- ½ pound green beans ends removed
- ½ pound fresh tomatoes diced
- 1 pound red potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes, peeled if preferred
- 12 ounces frozen lima beans
- 15 ounce can white beans drained and rinsed
- 7 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley plus more for topping
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- shredded Parmesan for serving
- In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onion and fresh rosemary sprigs. Sauté for 6-8 minutes, or until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sauté a minute more.
- Carefully remove rosemary sprigs. Add all vegetables: zucchini, squash, sweet corn kernels, green beans, tomatoes, frozen lima beans, red potatoes, white beans. Cover in vegetable broth. Stir in salt, pepper, and fresh parsley. If extra liquid is needed to fully cover the vegetables, add ½ cup water at a time until vegetables are fully submerged.
- Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, uncover and reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered until potato is softened, about 12-15 minutes.
- When the potatoes and vegetables are tender, stir in fresh lemon juice. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve topped with fresh parmesan and additional fresh chopped parsley.
- Vegetable broth is important in this recipe, so choose a broth with a flavor that you love or use a homemade broth. Vegetable bouillon cubes mixed with water will also work; just follow package instructions for the bouillon to water ratio.
- All vegetables can be substituted with the same amount of frozen or canned. If using canned, drain extra liquid before adding to the soup.
- Leftovers: For best quality, keep refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days.