On a cold rainy day in Southern California, I’d often come home to my mother making this wonderfully wholesome soup, made from whatever vegetables she had leftover in the refrigerator. Her recipe is a little different from mine, but the end result is nothing short of delicious! It starts with a big chunk of lean ground beef, and from there you add onions, potatoes, celery, green beans, canned or fresh tomatoes or even parsnips, turnips, broccoli, corn or zucchini; basically whatever you had or wanted to add. For the base my mother would use vegetable juice, but I use bottled spaghetti sauce for more flavor. I add basil, garlic and of course a bay leaf. You decide what goes in your big pot, but whatever you do it will smell and taste amazing.
This is true comfort food for me!
Yesterday, my darling 15 (almost 16) year old daughter (who struggles eating enough fruits and vegetables) saw the big soup pot on the stove and declared, “I LOVE SOUP SEASON”. Which describes how much she loves fall and the cooler weather. Soups are also a way for her to get enough veggies since, for some reason, the flavors all blended together appeal to her taste buds far more than individual vegetables alone. I’ll take it, and keep making soups which, by the way, are a huge nutritional blessing because all that nutrient goodness stays right in that pot and eventually into her tummy; that’s the point.
If you’re feeling a little down, or even feel a touch of flu or cold symptoms coming on, get in your kitchen and make this soup. You’re going to feel a thousand times better!
- Autumn Vegetable Beef Soup
- 2 pounds extra lean ground beef
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup sliced celery, leaves included
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (24-ounce) bottle of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use Classico Traditional Sweet Basil)
- 3 cups beef broth (I use Better Than Bouillon Beef Base)
- 3 cups water
- 1 (14-ounce) can Italian-seasoned ready-cut stewed tomatoes
- 2 cups cubed potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
- 1 cup diced carrots, scrubbed but not peeled (I prefer bulk carrots)
- 1 cup sliced fresh green beans
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 2 tsp dried basil leaves
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Shaved Parmesan cheese for topping
- Ground beef in a large soup pot placed over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables are soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Correct seasonings with salt and pepper. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve with cut apples/pears or fresh baked french bread.
- (This soup gets more flavorful over time, so make ahead or at least have enough for leftovers!)