My simple soup trick to up your veggie count and get your skinny on (video)

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Finding it tough to get your veggies in?

You know it’s at the top of the list of tips for staying trim and energetic, right?  Talk about tricks for switching off your fat genes!

Though you know it’s important to keep you vegetable count high, many people struggle with doing just that.  For me, after years of veg eating,  it’s a piece of carrot cake.  So I figure I can help you with what’s now second nature to me.  Thus this short video that I just made for you on my super-simple-standby soup recipe.

All done and ready to eat

Actually, the list of veggies you could use for your basic soup recipe is endless. The more colors you mix in, the more super nutrition you get.

In my video, I’ve shown you my basic veg picks.  As a matter of fact, now that I think of it, this is a perfect contribution to  The Plant-Based Blueprint.

In comments below, please tell me about YOUR favorite veggies for soup or your best ideas for quick and simple tricks you use to make soup in your kitchen.  Thanks!

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  • Janet says:

    OK, inspired! Why do I always think it’s going to be too much trouble to make soup? What brand is your pressure cooker? Thanks Lani!


    • Lani says:

      Janet, it’s a Presto stainless steel. But I need a new sealer ring on it – I just cooked some black beans and got steam leak all over the cooktop! Time for google search.

      • Sherril Twitchell says:

        Lani sometimes the seal just gets loose. Try the end of a wooden spoon to push it back in and re-seal. But yes, they do get old and need to be replaced.

        Love your soup recipe, though I tend to spice things up with herbs more. I would add celery (because it is good for excess dampness) and bok choy and Napa cabbage (just because I love ‘em!).

        Keep up the great suggestions for us.


      • Karen says:

        How large of a pressure cooker do you suggest. I don’t like to cook so typically if I am making soups, chili, etc I like to make extra and freeze for an easy dinner in the future. Assuming that can be done so how large is large enough to make “extra”.

  • Casey says:

    YUM! Can I come over for lunch?

  • Lynn says:

    Oh, yeah! I make soup like this 2-3 times a week (no pressure cooker but use a large kettle/dutch oven) and add all leftovers from fridge, maybe some frozen corn, green beans, onion/pepper mix, potatoes, lentils, barley, rice, what ever is handy or available in the kitchen. And toast a slice of Ezekiel 4:9 bread and heaven arrives!

  • GrayceB says:

    Like Lynn, whatever I have. I have an old ice cream bucket that I toss left over veggies in after dinner, when it is full, time for soup! I do like to add green beans to soup, broccoli not so much, it’s strong!

    • Lani says:

      Grayce, now THAT is creative. Thanks for posting the idea because I know some of us just don’t think of that – the veggie trimmings being a great soup starter!

  • Robin says:

    Sort of similar to Grace, I started putting veggie trimmings into a bag (the little top ‘core’ from tomatoes), the end ‘chunk’ of onions (I trim any dirt bits off), carrot peels (if I’m peeling carrots for something), etc. When I get a decent amount of veggies in the bag, I make veggie broth (strain out all of the “used” vegetable bits) and then use the broth for whatever I need – usually soup, but it would be great for anywhere that you would use vegetable broth. It is a wonderful way to get ‘something out of nothing’ since I _was_ throwing all(most) of those pieces in the trash.

    I also do the ‘grab and dump’ for vegetables for soups. I’ll dig through the fridge/freezer see if there is anything that needs to be used up or that sounds like it would be good in the soup.

  • Wendy says:

    Fantastic idea – Lani you make me want to ask for a pressure cooker for Christmas. I can’t believe you can get the soup done that quick.

    My favs for soup add ins are cabbage, parsley, can of diced tomatoes, brown rice (I make a huge batch and freeze it, pull out a container as needed), garlic cloves, spinach added at the end. Basil is a wonderful flavoring. Mushrooms added with some Braggs Aminos – yum. My soups are different every time I make them. The funny thing is that I actually start to crave soup. It’s also great for breakfast!

    • Lani says:

      Wendy, I hadn’t thought of suggesting it as a Christmas gift – man, you know how to think! It will save you SO much time. If I have to slave over a pot of soup, fuhgit it. This is the perfect solution. It’s also the way I cook beans. I’m a Bragg’s aminos fan too, BIG time and realized I should have put that in my video!

      Let me know if Santa delivers!


  • Carol says:

    Question: When I pressure cook my beans, I have been thinking of using the leftover water from the drained beans as a base for a vegetable soup? I pre-sook the beans and then throw out that water before I pressure cook the beans — so I think any issues with problems with gas discomfort should be avoided. I was thinking the added flavor from the bean cooking water, which tastes pleasant, gives a foundation and nutrients for a vegetable soup. Your thoughts?

    • Lani says:

      Carol, yes, it’s a great idea and that’s what I do as well. I also do what you do – toss the “first cooking” water (I actually cook them a little, let ‘em sit, rinse, and then add new water for the second round of cooking). There’s also a vitamin cache in that cooking water, so you not only get flavor but some added nutrition!


  • This looks fab…..definitely gonna try this. I love veggie bean soups, and to get my greens I always add a handful of baby spinich, then serve the soup over a bed of torn romaine leaves. I like the crunch :) My favorite soup ever is a Greek Lentil soup that adds a touch of olive oil and red wine vinegar at the end of cooking time. Super yum over those romaine leaves!

    • Lani says:

      Cindy, what is it about that splash of vinegar before serving that adds a special yum? You don’t really taste it, but it definitely does something!

  • […] I’ll make it easier for you:  If you haven’t seen it already, click HERE to see my short video of Simple Veggie Soup with only 5 ingredients, my ideal recipe!  And one of them is, you guessed it, […]

  • Carol says:

    The only thing I’d add is a jalapeno pepper or 2. It sounds delicious & nutritious & I’ll make some this week!

  • Lynn R says:

    We do version of the above as well, but here is another twist that we learned from an Aruveydic restaurant here in ABQ (we took a class). She did a Broccoli Almond soup, which basically is making a simple broth adding in Braggs, she used no onions or garlic, but my husband added a little bit the last time he made it, you add the almonds in there (a handful) and then cook the broccoli until tender. Then he added some Lite coconut milk in there (but you can use another (1/2 cup 2g fat) Then you take a hand blender and start blending it right in the pot (of course you can use a regular blender if you don’t have a hand blender). Now, The almonds and coconut milk contain fat so you may want to leave those out, and then just season to taste what you have in the pot, the broccoli tastes amazing. We usually serve it over Quinoa or a Brown Rice, you can add beans as well if so desired. But I have taken this recipe ( I LOVE to cook) and have taken frozen veggies… one version: Cauliflower and Butternut squash, made a simple veggie broth, cooked the veggies in there till tender (not long with frozen) hand blended them and serve again, over Quinoa or Brown Rice… just another way to get veggies in there, and the thing is, you could even ADD different chopped veggies to the blended one’s for different flavors. Just go crazy!!

    • Lani says:

      Well Lynn you’ve got my mouth watering and my stomach growling and it’s only 7 a.m.! You sound like an amazing cook. I pretty much hate to cook but I love to eat so I’m all over it when someone pops in with quick tips as well as insights into how to lighten the fat content of a yummers meal. You’ve done it! Have you a picture of this dish? This might make one great blog feature if you do! Get back to me, OK?

      Thanks Lynn!


      • Lynn R says:

        Oh my goodness, here is is 2012 and I have just seen this reply from you because I revisited the “soup” video, but Lani, if you are still interested I will be sure to get on this and send a pic!

  • susan says:

    that is my real estate web site.. don’t have a veggie one yet too new.. I buy vegetable based broth from trader Joe’s.. i cook my peppers all colors in the oven till they are soft and alot of onions then i add everything that is in the frig.. always beans, love a whole thing of spinich(sp)..it cooks down to nothing..love love canned tomatoes..salt free and tomato sauce.. so really a tomato base.. i cut up the tomotoes. soup lasts almost a few days as i eat it alot but it is so good.. i sometimes have a corn tortilla hot in the microwave and salsa as a small side dish..love a little brocolli, and can’t think of the white one that looks like brocolli.. spend alot of time on the soup but it is good.. i do not salt it but use pepper..add water too.

    • Lani says:

      Susan, what a genius way to cook the peppers. Do you put them just on a sheet in the oven or in a pan? Temperature? Details! I’m all for lots of color in the least-fussy way possible!

  • Kate says:

    I make lentil (red, brown, French) soup all the time. I add green at the last minute: kale, spinach, cabbage, and/or parsley. I always include carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, and garlic. I use different seasonings depending on my mood: miso, curry powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, oregano, thyme, dehydrated veggie flakes, paprika. For my son, who needs to gain weight I serve it over millet or red rice. Finally, we always put a big handful of sprouts and sometimes chopped tomatoes or avocado on top.

    • Lani says:

      Kate, I love the idea of the quick toppings! I’ve been doing that with some chopped cabbage and it’s a great way to add some greens without a big production or cooking them to death. Thanks for your post!

  • PJ says:

    Don’t forget zucchini and tomatoes. I love to use whatever is seasonal in my garden. Zucchini tends to take over out there, so I add a lot to soups and other lentil and grain dishes during the summer. I have a juicer so a lot of left overs get juiced and I have instant broth to use in soups.

  • Greg says:

    Lani looking forward when you write your Fit Foods Quickie Cookbook.


    • Greg – thank you! And this brings up a heartbreaker – a few months ago, I think before we met, my hard drive with all of the recipes for the FitFoods Quickie Cookbook (that’s what it was being called – you’re right!) went up in cyber flames. I had most of my pictures backed up, but not the recipes and it kills me every time I think of it. Now, I back up regularly.

      And, I’ve been rebuilding my recipe inventory and will include some of them in the upcoming Plant-Based BluePrint – and more after that. I like simple eats and it sounds like you might too. Thanks again for your note!

  • Greg says:

    Yep the simpler the better. I learned the hard way also regarding back-up. Will be watching.

  • […] P.S.  After you’ve entered the contest,  here’s my go-to pressure cooker recipe for lentil soup:  My simple soup trick to up your veggie count and get your skinny on (video) […]

  • Milly says:

    My favorite add on veges are anything I’ve roasted that week. Last week it was zucchini, yellow squash, and cauliflower. This week will be zucchini, tri-colored peppers, onion, and eggplant. I just throw them in a 450 degree oven for 30-45 minutes until slightly browned.

  • Wanda says:

    My mother in law was way ahead of her time and has been cooking and eating vegan for 62 years. She will be 94 this month and is still doing great and works out 3-5 days a week, including a 2 mile recumbent bike ride. Her trick for soups is cook them in celery juice or a mixture of celery/carrot juice. This gives a nice flavor without the need for added salt. My favorite kitchen tools for soup are: The Vidalia Chop Wizard (I first found this on Dr. Furhman’s web site and have since seen it at Bed Bath and Beyond for about $20) It cuts prep time way down. Second is the Vitamix. I will take 2-4 cups of soup, blend it in the vitamix and then return to the soup pot for a heartier, creamier soup. This is great for split pea soup.

    I just purchased my first Pressure Cooker and am anxious to use your recipes and start reducing the time I spend in the kitchen.

  • […] is usually whole grains and fruits.  Lunch is a big bowl of soup with starchy vegetables, legumes, and dark greens or a salad, or both, often with a sandwich on […]

  • Phil Bevill says:

    Celery is a long-season crop that can be tricky to grow, some might say, the trickiest of all. It likes fertile soil, cool temperatures, and constant moisture. It will not tolerate heat and can be hard to transplant. Summer crops in the north and winter crops in the south make celery a year-round producer. All the work is worth it when you harvest crunchy, green stalks.`”^-

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  • […] was easy – I simply used my Simple Slimming Lentil Soup recipe for the ingredients, pinch hitting red lentils for the orange.  The red lentils take […]

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