This nutritious Summer Vegetable Soup is the best way to take advantage of summer's produce bounty! Fresh sweet corn, peppers and tomatoes are combined with a few other summer favorites for a light but flavorful summer soup.
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.
What are you to do with all of that summer vegetable bounty? How about Summer Vegetable Soup!
I know, soup and summer are not usually friends but I am more than happy to share this soup recipe in July. There's simply no better time to enjoy zucchini, tomatoes, and bell pepper than summer.
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Fresh summer vegetables
Summer vegetable soup is all about using what you have on hand. If you have extra eggplant or carrots on hand, throw them in with the rest of the veggies. Fresh spinach or arugula? Stir it in at the very end.
Every vegetable is allowed in summer vegetable soup, but here are the ones I chose for this recipe:
Fresh sweet corn sliced straight off the cob. Nothing says summer quite like that!
Bell peppers. Choose red or orange bell pepper for a sweeter flavor or green bell pepper for a light, fresh taste.
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 are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K and fiber. 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. Did you know that one potato provides more potassium than a banana?
White beans. While vegetables are high in nutrients like Vitamin C and fiber, they aren't always a good source of protein. The addition of white beans and lima beans makes this soup a little higher in protein.
How to make summer vegetable soup
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. Saute onion and rosemary in olive oil until browned. Add garlic and saute for a minute more, until browned and aromatic. Carefully remove the rosemary.
Step 3. Add alllll the veggies, vegetable broth, and chopped parsley. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. 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 sprinkling of fresh parmesan. Dip with a piece of fresh crusty bread or
Is fresh produce healthier than canned and frozen?
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.
What to eat with summer vegetable soup
Summer Vegetable Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 0.5 pounds zucchini sliced into half moons
- 0.5 pounds summer squash sliced into half moons
- 2 ears sweet corn husked and silks removed and corn sliced from cob
- ½ pound green beans ends removed
- ½ pound fresh tomatoes diced
- 1 pound red potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes
- 12 ounces frozen lima beans
- 1 can (15 ounces) 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
- 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. Saute for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and saute a minute more.
- Carefully remove rosemary sprigs. Add all vegetables: zucchini, squash, sweet corn, 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.