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18 June 2008

Homemade vegetable soup

In winter, I could easily live on soup alone. No, scratch that, oat porridge in the morning and soup in the evening. Give me that and I'd be your friend forever. I am a simple soul.

Here is my recipe for vegetable soup and herb dumplings. There is a no meat version of the soup and a meat version.

Traditionally, winter vegetable soups are made with root vegetables. They are in season in winter, and are cheap then, so it's the ideal way to take advantage of that and make a big pot that will keep you going for a couple of days.

These quantities will make a big stockpot full of soup which lasts for about five meals in our home. It is a very good soup for children who don't eat a lot of vegetables. Instead of chopping the vegies, you can shred them and they can't be recognised. The kids will be drawn in by the dumplings and have to eat the soup to get to them.

three stalks celery
2 onions
1 carrot
fresh thyme and parsley
all chopped finely

To make this stock, chop all your ingredients, except the herbs, and fry them gently in a sauce pan with a little oil. Cook them until they're caramelised - they will be brown, not burnt. You'll need to stir the vegetables so they don't brown too much. When they're nicely brown, add water, salt and pepper to taste and bring to the boil. Add the herbs and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Use a strainer and strain the stock, removing the vegetables and herbs. What you have now is a vegetarian stock.

Buy about 1 kg (2 pounds) beef soup bones. You want the bones with a lot of bone marrow in them for better flavour and more nutrition. The butcher will often cut open these bones so you can see the inside of the bones.

Put the bones in the oven with a little oil drizzled over them and roast for about 45 minutes, or until the bones are brown.

Then put the bones in a stockpot, cover with water and 1 chopped onion and some fresh thyme and parsley. Bring to the boil and simmer for at least an hour. Using a strainer, remove the meat bones and vegetables from the stock.

3 medium onions - chopped
3 large carrots - sliced
4 stalks celery - chopped
1 swede - chopped
1 turnip - chopped
1 parsnip - chopped
handful of parsley

2 cups of either pearl barley or brown rice - not both - washed well before use
salt and pepper

Add the fresh vegetables and herbs to your stock in a large stockpot. Add the barley or rice and stir. Bring to the boil and simmer for about two hours.

Two cups self raising flour OR 2 cups of plain flour (all purpose) with 2 teaspoons of baking powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
a handful of chopped herbs - either chives, green onion tops, thyme or parsley are great
To make the dumplings, add the flour, salt and pepper and butter to a bowl and, using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour. You keep doing this until the mix looks like fine bread crumbs - see photo below.

Then add the herbs and enough water to make a firm dough. The dough should be like a moist bread dough. When it's formed into a nice dough, take walnut size portions and roll them into balls. Plop the dumplings into the soup. They will float on the top of the soup and cook for about 15 minutes. Put the top on your stockpot so the dumpling tops cook in steam. When they're firm, they're ready.

Just to recap, this soup might take most of the day to cook, but you are only spending about 30 minutes actually standing at the stove or chopping ingredients. The rest of the time is the soup cooking slowly.

  1. So make your stock first, this could be done the day before.

  2. When the stock is ready, chop your fresh vegetables and cook the soup.

  3. Make the dumplings and add them for the last 15 minutes of the soup cooking time.
There is enough protein in this soup but if your family must have meat, make little meatballs and add to the soup. You can make little meatballs with 500 grams (1 pound) topside mince (ground beef), mix one egg with a tablespoon or milk and soak two slices of stale bread in it. Break it up and add to the meat, salt and pepper and form into balls. Fry these until cooked and add to the soup just before serving.


  1. Dumplings.... manna from the heavens.

    I love dumplings!

    The soup looks wonderful!


  2. This looks absolutely yummy even though I still eating porridge at the moment. For those of us who aren't the best cooks - how much water do you use for the stock ?
    Thank you once again for entertaining and enlightening posts.
    Patricia in North Qld

  3. This looks delicious! Oh I wish it was root vegetable season here, soon though:-) Thanks for the receipt.

  4. ok, I live in California. What is a "swede". I assume that, as a vegetable loving person, you are not advocating...well, you fill in the blanks. The soup looks delicious, by the way.

  5. Hello girls! Patricia, I've never measured the water but I guess it would be around four litres (quarts). You'll need to cover the vegetables in the pot with water and have enough to make the soup the consistency you enjoy.

    anon, leave ABBA where they are and use a rutabaga. LOL!

  6. Rhonda,

    Yum! I love dumplings! I make chicken and dumplings all the time:) It is a nice warm day here. It is around 75 degrees so no dumplings today, but we are going to a baseball game:)

    Blessings to you!!!


  7. Thanks Rhonda. It looks delicious, and I'll definately be giving this a go.

  8. The soup looks delicious and very versatile, using what is cheapest or at hand. We are having soup at least once a week during the cooler months, it is wonderful, healthy comfort food.

  9. Thanks for sharing the dumpling recipe. I've only ever made them with either potato or semolina and eggs. They look so inviting I'm tempted to make them tonight, no, maybe lunchtime! I just love wintertime so I can make soups, and I always eat too much of them. There's nothing like a home made soup on a cold day.

    Regards, Marilyn

  10. Soup is wonderful in the wintertime(we are in summer now). Thank you for the recipe.

  11. Soup is one thing I love to cook. I have never put dumplings in soup. I am going to have to give it a try, as yours looks simply divine.

  12. Oooh guess what i will be cooking this weekend!! It looks soooo yummy Rhonda - thank you for the recipe and also for clarifying the amount of water for us beginners. Tamara

  13. Hi Rhonda,

    Your recipe is just what I needed today- I had planned to make a pea and ham soup, but couldn't find a ham trotter at the supermarket- I was going to find a good veggie substitute. Well, I found it in your post! Thanks!


  14. Oh, Rhonda this soup looks heavenly! Thanks for the swede translation. LOL We eat soup all year long so I can't wait to give this a try, even in the 100 degree heat! Have a wonderful week.

  15. Another excellent recipe RJ!
    I have not tried my children with all the root veggies in a soup, my son tends to be a one flavour kind of child. I'll be trying the duplings too!

  16. looks great Rhonda Jean

    I make a very similair version but stir in thinly sliced crisp cabbage(like a savoy) for the last few minutes of cooking

    sometimes i bake the dumpling mix on a tray
    I shape the dough into a round and then mark into 8 wedges not cutting all the way through ,a bit like a soda bread


    Sharron in the UK

  17. Rhonda,

    I make dumplings but use vegetable suet rather than butter........

    Love veg soup, I often use tomato puree in mine as well, plenty of pepper.......lovely.....

  18. Nice to see a shchi recipe (soup with cabbage) from Anonymous up there. My borshch recipe can be found at

  19. That soup looks delicious. I am in California and don't want to make soup on most days, but we're in the northern part so I still have some nice cool days that a soup would be fantastic for dinner.
    Have you tried freezing it? I am wondering if I could make up a big batch and freeze it for dinners at othertimes. (without the dumplings of course) Thank you for the recipe.

  20. Oh yes...on a side note. I read the bra making link on your side bar a while back. I ordered the patterns for a bra and for the panties. I also bought some great patterns for clothing at a big fabric store here, on Monday. (the patterns were 2 for $3.00! I saved $58.00!) You have given me ideas to start living simply and I am starting there! I want to thank you for a wonderful blog giving me the help I needed to do what I should have been doing years ago!

  21. Reminds me of my mother's homemade vegetable soup. She didn't make dumplings but she used pearl barley, which I loved. It's summer here in the northern hemisphere, but I'll bookmark this for when winter comes. Yum!

  22. Oh my gosh! This looks so good! I can't wait to try it on a cold winter's day! It's too hot here in Nebraska now! Thanks for the recipe!


  23. looks like a very yummy soup.

  24. I have never posted before,so I hope I do this correctly.

    I do have a question. I want to make my own cleaners for the bathrooms and such and I thought I saw that some had ammonia in some of the recipes. I have used bleach in my showers before so will it be safe to start using a cleaner with ammonia in it on my showers.

    I found you by way of but I noticed that there is no longer a way to get from there to your site. I was wondering if something happened. That is how I found you and it has been very helpful in my journey to live a simple life and so I don't want others to miss out on all of the great information I have been able to drink in.

  25. I'm with you Rhonda,I too could easily live off oats for breakfast,lots of lovely soups(epecially with dumplings)and plenty of salads from the garden in summer!So cheap too!!!
    Love from Kathy and the girls


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