Chloe D’Inverno brightens up our day with a vegan chunky vegetable soup recipe straight from grandma’s kitchen!
I want to share with you something very special to me. You may be looking at this recipe thinking, “why the fuss, it’s just soup?”, but I can tell you for a fact that it’s more than just soup. This is my grandma’s famous chunky vegetable soup that no one can make as good as she does, not even you! Because although the end result will be delicious, it won’t be made with my grandma’s love…but we can still try to get close.
First, I’d like to tell you about the origins of this simple yet wonderful recipe.
It was five years ago now that my eyes were opened, and I decided to make the change to go vegan. My sister had too. At this time, I was still living at home and just like for a lot of teenagers, my parents and grandparents cooked for me. I knew this plant-based lifestyle would impact the meals they made for me, but my family were very supportive, something I’ll be forever grateful for.
My grandma, the lovely, kind lady she is, wanted to make us something that had no animal-derived ingredients, but that we’d still enjoy as a family. At first, she just made a pan of soup because she had a bunch of leftover vegetables in the fridge, but after I had a spoonful…I fell in love. Most weeks, my dad and I would go around to my grandparent’s house and join them for a large pan of vegetable goodness. We’d sit around the table, happily devouring my grandma’s best recipe to date, along with a baguette and good conversation. At first glance, those days may not have seemed special, but they were for me. Especially now that I’m in university, I remember back to when I lived at home, missing my family and wishing for another normal meal.
I have decided to share this recipe with you (with my grandma’s permission, of course!) because I couldn’t justify keeping the knowledge of this heart-warming, delightful soup all to myself.
Now I’m at university, living too far away to beg my grandmother to whip up a pan of soup, I’ve asked her to share the recipe with me. She obliged of course, just like the magnificent person she is. She told me the ingredients and what to do, and I made sure to write it down, not wanting to forget it, and simultaneously feeling like I was jotting down a part of my family’s history. Although she may say it’s just ‘tossing a load of veg into a pan’, to me it’s more than that. This recipe is a little bit of her. It’s a little bit of her love. And we all need love, now more than ever.
The best part about this recipe is its versatility. Each time my grandma makes it, she claims it won’t be as good as her last batch because she’s changed it up a bit, but each time, it still tastes wonderful and blows me away! You can swap some of the ingredients for different ones or add anything you want to. Not a fan of sweet potatoes? Just pop in more white potatoes or carrots. Want more protein? Add in some lentils. Have some baked beans (yes, baked beans!) to use up? Toss them in! The possibilities are endless.
So, I hope you enjoyed this little story, and that you enjoy constructing your own version of my grandmother’s soup. Maybe you’ll enjoy it so much that it’ll become a favourite of yours, just like it has mine, and you’ll make it in years to come for your grandchildren. Because I know I certainly will be.
Below are the ingredients and instructions that have been held from you in suspense. These are just the basic ingredients I used for this batch, but remember, you can take out or add any veg you want, as long as you think it’ll go nicely!
Cook Time: Roughly 25-30 minutes
Yield: I got 5 portions from this batch!
- 2 parsnips
- 3 carrots
- 4 white potatoes
- 3 sweet potatoes
- Half a punnet of mushrooms
- A handful of green beans
- A leek
- One tin of mixed beans (my tin had sweetcorn in and more green beans too!)
- A few tablespoons of gravy
- 2 vegetable stock cubes
- 2l of water (this is just an estimate; simply use how much is needed to take up the rest of the space in your pan)
- 2 tbsp of mixed herbs
- A sprinkle of salt
- A sprinkle of black pepper
Step One: I start off with the larger vegetables. I peel and chop the potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips into chunks. It depends on your preference for how big you like your veg in soup, but the smaller the chunks, the quicker the soup will be ready! As I chop them, I put them into a large saucepan.
Step Two: Pop the kettle on for your water to boil (ready for the stock). Chop up your leeks, green beans, and mushrooms. Again, it’s up to you what size, but I like my chunks quite large.
Step Three: Add the boiled water into a measuring jug with your stock and mix well. I tend to add the mixed herbs, salt and pepper here so it mixes with the stock. Pour the liquid over your veg until your pan is filled, like in the image below:
Step Four: Boil the soup on a medium-high heat for fifteen minutes, before adding the tin of mixed beans and any other tins you are wanting to add. Boil on a lower heat for a further ten minutes, until all the veg is tender! My favourite way to test the veg is having a little taste.
Step Five: By now, your soup could look quite watery. This is where my grandma’s secret ingredient comes in. Sprinkle over your choice of gravy and mix it in so the liquid part of the soup thickens up (the more gravy added, the thicker your soup will be).
Step Six: Let your soup boil for a couple minutes so the gravy thickens fully and mixes with the veg. And voila!
Top Tip: If you’re making it for one person, like I do, portion it out into tupperwares. It will last the week in the fridge, or you can even freeze it! I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do.
P.S. This soup tastes best with a buttered baguette by its side!
About the Author: Chloe D’Inverno is a second year English Language and Linguistics student at the University of York. She has a passion for veganism since making the change in 2016, and is now on the path to further help the environment by doing her part in regards to sustainability and finding zero-waste alternatives.