I don’t know about you, but I have fond memories of canned vegetable soup. It was comfort food.
Of course, I don’t want to eat canned vegetable soup these days, because I know it’s high in salt, sugar, and other additives, and the organic varieties are quite costly.
Who needs it, when you can make homemade vegetable soup yourself, and it still tastes like it comes from a can.
Canned vegetable soup usually has either noodles or barley. We’ll use barley. This is a great way to include this healthy grain in your diet. If you prefer, you could also use rice, or another whole grain.
Pearled or pot barley will cook relatively quickly. Just check the cooking instructions of the variety you have to understand how long to cook it. You want it to be nice and soft for this soup.
Saucepan or Instant Pot
In the recipe below, I’ve given instructions on how to make this vegetable soup in a regular saucepan, as well as a pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot.
Green Beans, or Choose Your Own Veggies
I’ve called for green bean, but you can substitute this with 2 cups of your favorite soup vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, radish, asparagus, kale, or cabbage.
Add more vegetables if you like. Let this vegetable soup recipe be your go-to for using up whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.
The onions, carrots, and celery are standard. You can substitute with green onions if the onion bothers you, or leave it out.
Vegetable Soup is Healthy Comfort Food
I think the key to success with this vegetable soup is ensuring that everything is very well cooked.
In modern nutrition, there is a lot of emphasis placed on lightly cooked food or raw food, because it preserves the nutrition.
This is only partly true. Because what matters more is that you actually digest what you eat fully. Most people have weak digestion, and they aren’t actually extracting the nutrition from their food.
When you eat a lot of raw and lightly cooked food, it takes more digestive fire, more metabolism, and more strength. Digestion overall takes a lot of energy.
I believe this is the true secret behind comfort food. It is easy to digest.
Healthy comfort food like this vegetable soup is easy to digest because it's well cooked in a single pot, so there's harmony and balance in it.
Conversely, processed comfort food seems easy to digest, because there’s little nutrition in it to extract. If you are lucky, it is excreted quickly as waste.
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Recipe for Homemade Vegetable Soup with Canned Soup Flavor
Helpful Kitchen Tools:
- ⅓ cup pearled barley, soaked for 2 hours
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (sub with 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 4 cups water, or as required
- 15 ounce can of tomatoes , pureed or chopped
- 25 green beans, chopped into 1-inch lengths (sub with 2 cups broccoli, cauliflower, and/or cabbage
- 1 teaspoon salt , or to taste
- 1 teaspoon raw sugar, (optional)
Cook the Barley
- Add barley to saucepan or pressure cooker with 2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes, or simmer for 40 minutes in a saucepan, until soft. (Add more water if required due to evaporation.)
Cook the soup
- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat or use the sauté function on your pressure cooker. Add garlic, and sauté until slightly browned.
- Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add celery, carrots, fresh thyme, and bay leaves. Sauté 10-12 minutes to soften and infuse the flavor of the thyme into the vegetables.
- Add water, tomatoes, green beans, salt, and optional sugar, and bring to a boil. If the barley is cooked, add it at any time, along with the cooking water. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, or pressure cook on high for 8 minutes. Cook until the vegetables are soft.