Hearty meals, like this Chunky Vegetable and Spinach Soup, are heart-healthy and filling. This is cold-weather soup, so serve it with thick slices of crusty bread!
You can call this soup a Root Vegetable Soup if you choose to do so, or you can call it a Vegetarian Soup. Whatever you decide, add the word delicious at the beginning, because, Dear Reader, this soup is nothing short of phenomenally fantastic!
We love all kinds of soups. Well, actually, I love all kinds of soups. John.e is a vegetarian, so he only loves vegetarian or vegan soups. And, up until just recently, McKenna was a vegetarian as well, but she has recently integrated meat back into her diet.
So, when it comes to soups and stews, in more cases than not, I make my recipes vegetarian. I have made soups and stews with meat in them before, and you can find a few of them here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen. But, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think that a soup needs meat at all to be really, really delicious!
Vegetable soup normally has green peas, corn, green beans, potatoes, onion and celery. As much as I love those types of soups, (mostly because they remind me of Campbell’s canned Vegetable Soup from my childhood) I feel that a vegetable soup needs to be chunky and hearty.
I feel that in order to get a chunky and hearty vegetable soup, you need to use root vegetables. Root vegetables have always been my favourite type of vegetable, and there’s an easy explanation. Where I grew up, above ground veggies were very rarely grown by local farmers.
I only ever saw green beans in a can, and the same goes for green peas and corn. This was the norm. But, in time, we were able to source tomatoes, lettuce, corn, etc., quite easily. By easily, I mean drive about 90 minutes or so to the closest largest town and shop for groceries there.
Chunky Vegetable and Spinach Soup has all of the root vegetables that I love the most! Of course you’re going to find potatoes in almost every variety of vegetable soup, but I also added carrots and rutabaga – and if you cannot source rutabaga, you can also use turnip.
Now, I ask you, Dear Reader, what is soup without a solid base start of onions and garlic? And, if you living in the Thomas-Ewing household, onions and garlic are nothing without the addition of celery in a soup recipe! It’s like why bother to make soup without celery? It would be like making soup without bay leaves!
Like all good soups though, you need something green to make it come alive. I used whole baby spinach leaves in this soup – not only to add colour and flavour, but to also add some solid health benefits, such as protein, calcium, potassium, and iron.
When all is said and done – when the vegetables are tender; when the spinach has been wilted; and when the broth is thick and flavourful – you’re left with a Chunky Vegetable and Spinach Soup that’s fit for a King or Queen, but best served in large portions to you and your family!
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Chunky Vegetable and Spinach Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
- 4 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed
- In a very large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or soup pot, add the onions and olive oil. Saute the onions over medium heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for two minutes.
- Next, add the thyme, salt, ground black pepper, bay leaves, carrots, celery, and rutabaga. Stir well to combine and place a lid on the pot. Allow to cook for 5 minutes.
- Pour in the vegetable stock and the water. Stir well and place a lid back on the pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Next, add the potatoes. Stir into the soup. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Now, add the butternut squash. Stir into the soup. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. (At this point, once everything is stirred together, the vegetables should be just slightly covered with broth. If not, add just enough water to cover the veggies.)
- Lastly, add the spinach leaves. Stir into the soup the best you can. Place a lid on the pot and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
- Check seasoning and serve piping hot with crusty bread or crackers.
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