Got extra veggies? Broccoli starting to soften? Here's how to turn them into silky smooth soup with a simple formula.
A dutch oven full of carrot soup sitting on a hot plate with an immersion blender in it
Credit: Jennifer Causey

I'm head over heels in love with soup. Once the weather turns cooler, I make a batch of soup (or more!) each week, trying new recipes as well as improving upon tried-and-true favorites. I love the whole process of creating a pot of soup—from chopping to the final stir—and the simplicity of serving it. Just add a hunk of warm bread and dinner is served.

Here are three more reasons I love soup:

1. It's a great way to use up veggies that need to be eaten.

Too many onions and carrots? Broccoli starting to soften? Got a can of tomatoes in the cupboard? Turn them into a silky smooth soup. When I decide to make a pot of soup, I start by surveying my refrigerator: do I have any opened boxes or cans of chicken stock in the fridge? What vegetables are starting to wilt? Could any of the leftovers see a new life in this soup?

2. One pot yields endless meals.

I divide the leftovers between my freezer and my refrigerator. I can defrost the frozen soup on a night when making dinner is the last thing I feel like doing. And the soup in the fridge I can bring to work for lunch the next day.

3. Eating soup might help me lose weight.

One recent study showed that people who started lunch with vegetable soup ended up eating 20 percent less than those who skipped the soup. Anything to trick me into eating less helps!

This simple pureed vegetable soup recipe is everything I love in a soup and more. You can make different vegetable soups from this one recipe—just pick a vegetable and start cooking. Here is the basic method for making a simple pureed vegetable soup and variations for carrot, potato, broccoli and pea soup, but you can use other veggies like butternut squash or sweet potatoes.

Basic Pureed Vegetable Soup Recipe

Active time: 35 to 45 minutes | Total: 35 to 50 minutes

To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or parsley
  • Vegetable of choice (see variations, below)
  • Water (see variations, below)
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, "no-chicken" broth or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Step 1

Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the butter melts. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme (or parsley); cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.

Step 2

Stir in vegetable of choice. Add water and broth; bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook until very tender. (See variations, below, for timing.)

Step 3

Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. If using an immersion blender, leave the mixture in the pot and blend the soup until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Stir in half-and-half (if using), salt and pepper.

Makes 8 servings, about 1 cup each.

Pureed Soup Variations:

A dutch oven divided into 4 sections. Each section has a different type of vegetable in it
Credit: Jennifer Causey

Carrot Soup

5 cups chopped carrots
2 cups water

Simmer for about 25 minutes.

Get the full recipe: Carrot Soup

Broccoli Soup

8 cups chopped broccoli (stems and florets)
2 cups water

Simmer for about 8 minutes.

Get the full recipe: Pureed Broccoli Soup

Pea Soup

6 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup water

Simmer for 1 minute.

Get the full recipe: Pea Soup

Potato Soup

5 cups chopped peeled potatoes
2 cups water

Simmer for about 15 minutes.