Overflowing with the vegetables of your choice in a delicious ranch and tomato-flavored broth, this easy vegetable soup recipe is certainly a dieter’s best friend.
This homemade vegetable soup recipe is one my mother and I have used for over 30 years and we still love it. Many diets have “free” vegetables, which are basically vegetables that are allowed without restriction. What this soup does is combine those vegetables with a richly flavored broth. A bowl of this vegetable soup is the perfect anytime dish to fight off the munchies, a quick and easy lunch, or a filling side dish with your evening main meal.
Back in the day, cabbage, okra, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, onions, and celery were all considered “free” or vegetables that could be eaten without limitation. I liked to walk on the wild side and toss in some corn too. I live dangerously that way. I’m not sure if these vegetables are considered evil today, I guess you’d have to check outside and see which way the wind is blowing. But common sense refuses to allow me to consider this soup anything but healthy and delicious! The great thing though is that you can omit, substitute, and exchange the veggies in this easy vegetable soup to fit whatever eating plan you are following so it’s a win/win across the board.
Most often, when I am dieting my problem is not so much hunger as a desire to munch. Reaching for this soup rather than pretzels, chips, or any number of higher carb and calorie snacks is definitely a step in the right direction to a healthier you! I make a huge pot and keep it in the fridge, heating it up whenever I need it for up to five days. I always look forward to a delicious bowl of this flavorful and filling soup. Did I mention it’s also ridiculously easy to make? Just pop all the ingredients in a pot and let them simmer until the vegetables are your desired tenderness. That’s all there is to it. Alright, let’s make some homemade vegetable soup.
The ingredients aren’t exact. You mainly need to go with the veggies that you personally enjoy. I’m using:
- Green beans
- Crushed tomatoes (I prefer crushed over diced tomatoes for a thicker, more filling broth).
- Ranch dressing mix
How to Make Easy Vegetable Soup
Wash, peel, and chop any of your veggies that need it, and put all ingredients into a large pot.
I add about 6 cups of water to this but you may prefer more or less, depending on how much liquid you like.
Stir that up and place it over medium-high heat.
Bring just to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes or so, until the veggies are to your desired tenderness.
It will be rather thick but as the vegetables cook up, they’ll create a lot more liquid.
This is how it will look about half an hour after it starts simmering.
You only need to cook it until the vegetables are as tender as you like. I like mine to be tender but not mushy.
I love having this vegetable soup on hand to eat anytime cravings or munchies strike.
This lets me indulge my taste buds while giving my body lots of great veggies.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. This is a great meal prep option as you can simply reheat leftovers in the microwave.
- You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating in the microwave.
- I prefer to use frozen vegetables over canned vegetables. Of course, nothing beats fresh vegetables anytime but when those aren’t available to me, frozen wins out.
- Please know I am referring ONLY to dry ranch dressing mix here, not bottled ranch dressing.
- Want to give this vegetable soup a boost? Keep it veggie-friendly and add canned beans. White beans like cannellini beans always work, as well as chickpeas, kidney beans, or black beans.
- You can also easily turn this into vegetable pasta soup by adding cooked pasta about 10 minutes before the soup finishes cooking. You can use any type of pasta, but tortellini soup is always a winner.
- Does it need a little kick? Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
- For more tomato flavor, add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste.
- Speaking of… if you want to add more flavor in the form of dried herbs and spices, go right ahead! Some complimentary flavors include Italian seasoning, a bay leaf or two while simmering, and a teaspoon of garlic powder and/or onion powder.
How do you serve homemade vegetable soup?
There are lots of ways to serve this vegetable soup:
- Enjoy it for lunch throughout the week.
- Serve it as a side dish with a simple main meal like grilled chicken, roast chicken, or crockpot turkey breast.
- Serve it as a main dish with cornbread, buttermilk biscuits, crusty bread, or a grilled cheese sandwich.
- Add a garnish of freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.
What other vegetables are good in vegetable soup?
The options are basically endless, but here are some other veggie suggestions. Remember, you can use frozen or fresh vegetables:
- Butternut squash
- Frozen peas
- Summer squash
- Green beans
- Sweet potato
- Bell pepper
- Leafy vegetables like kale or spinach (stir in towards the end).
Can I make vegetable soup in the slow cooker?
Absolutely! For crockpot vegetable soup, add all ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours (or until the veggies are as tender as you’d like).
Can I make easy vegetable soup in the Instant Pot?
You can also make this veggie soup in the Instant Pot. You’ll want to place all ingredients in the Instant Pot and cook for 7 minutes, then let the pressure release manually for 10 minutes.
I think you’d also like these easy soup recipes:
Creamy Vegetable Soup (Low-Carb Version)
French Onion Soup, Restaurant-Style
Senate Bean Soup (With a Shortcut)
Cauliflower Soup Recipe With Cheese
- 16 ounces frozen green beans
- 1/2 head cabbage, chopped
- 4-6 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 16 ounces frozen okra
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
- 6 cups water
- Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.16 ounces frozen green beans, 1/2 head cabbage, chopped, 4-6 large carrots, peeled and chopped, 16 ounces frozen okra, 1 cup chopped onion, 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix, 6 cups water
- Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are desired tenderness.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
This recipe was featured on Meal Plan Monday and Weekend Potluck.
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made this soup yesterday using canned whole green beans (drained) and fresh zucchini in place of okra, which I don’t care for. Turned out great. Where can I find the nutritional value of your soup recipe?
Hey Terri! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! With so many substitutions available and me hoping folks will customize my recipes to suit their tastes (like you did, yay!) I don’t offer nutritional values on the site due to all the possible variations. However, there are a lot of great free online calculators. I use myfitnesspal.com. Hope this helps!
Christy: I intended to make this yesterday, or today-but I got really sideways on it. The weather was and is miserable, and all I had was a 15 oz can of tomato sauce, or picante sauce, or tomato paste. I was going to use up my bok choy and arugula, and tri-color cole slaw mix, and I wanted to add some jicama, too. I used to make a great soup with chicken broth and peas, and zucchini, and blend it. Now I can’t-I am now allergic to anything in that family-squash, melons, and cucumber, so I’ve had to adapt. Thinly-sliced jicama makes a great substitute for the cucumber in cucumber salad, btw.
I decided that I could cook some split peas in the crock pot and did a bit extra, since I was intending to make pease pudding with the extra and use the rest in the soup, along with the pot likker.
I should have drained the split peas because everything thickened up overnight. So-I added a bit of water, the veggies, and the Ranch powder. I was going to blend it but decided against it. It was missing something so I added some Ham Base, and decided to add in a can of rinsed and drained black-eyed peas. It’s pretty good, but not exactly “Free” and I might even make it again. It just proves you can come up with something edible even when you get sideways on a recipe.
Brilliant in coming up with your substitutions!! So glad it turned out ok!
I’ve made this soup before but with a few variations. It’s delicious and so good for you!
I’d forgotten about this soup, so a HUGE Thank You to you from me! After I read your email, I went to the store & bought everything I needed so I can make it tomorrow. I use a bottle of low sodium V8 juice instead of water. I’m even going to try adding the powdered ranch dressing . Woo Hoooo from Cape Cod, MA
I hope you love it as much as we do Laurie!!!
oh yeah! if you are short on the cabbage you can use a bag of frozen brussel sprouts! My husband actually like them better than cabbage!
Thanks for sharing that little tip Ravyn!!
I have made this soup for years also, but I use a couple of big cans of peeled whole tomatoes (I break them up) and low-sodium V-8 juice for the broth. I think you can find dry ranch dressing/dip mix without the msg or sodium if you look, but another option also is any one of the Mrs. Dash salt-free herbal mixtures. 😉
I’ve been making various forms of this soup for years as well. I’ve never seen the “ranch” component, but you can bet it will be added to my next pot, for sure! Having grown up on vegetable soup, and vegetable beef soup, I found myself missing the “potato” component of a regular, old time, soup. One day, we were at my grandmothers house, and she’d fixed this for lunch, with what I thought were potatoes. I wasn’t about to say anything to her about the added calories (especially since by then we were having a hard time getting her to eat at all, she was probably in her late 80s at the time) until I bit into one, and realized it definitely wasn’t a potato! It turned out to be turnips! While I’m not a huge fan as a rule, the tastes of the other veggies kind of covered the turnip taste, and the creamy consistency added just what I’d been missing, without the added carbs! So, if any of you kind folks are missing the potatoes, give turnips a try! Whatever we each decide to put in it, it’s good, heartwarming food for ourselves and families, and for that, I’m truly grateful to Christy for reminding me to make some this cold month!