Vegetable Soup for the Soul

A  scratchy throat, sniffles, and a ravenous hunger overwhelm me this morning when I awake.  Although only 7:30, the time reserved expressly for thinking of and then drinking coffee in bed, I cannot not stop making a hearty, thick vegetable soup in my head.  It has to have tomatoes.  And lots of vegetables, but only what is on hand; no trips to the store while feeling like this.  As I breakfast on a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, cranberries, chia seeds and maple syrup, I combine spices, flavors, textures in my head.  It’s painting a picture in my mind—the stock pot the canvas, the vegetables, herbs and other ingredients the palette.

I hunt through the cupboards and refrigerator for what I want and by noon, the four of us—hubby, both kids and I—are gathered around the dining room table with steaming hot bowls in front of us.

The soup is rich.  The wheat berries are chewy and dense.  The lima beans and peas are a beautiful bright green in the rich dark broth.  Kombu, dark red miso, and tomatoes contribute the umami taste to this soup.  I consider writing down the recipe.  As I fill a second bowl and taste it again, I realize this is perhaps the most delicious vegetable soup I have ever made.  I visualize the process, happy to have designed it in my head earlier so I can remember every ingredient.  I leave my family to clean up and retire to the couch, first to write this down for sharing, then for a little nap to help fight the oncoming cold.

Vegetable Soup for the Soul


1 c cooked wheat berries

olive oil for sauteing
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1/2 sweet bell pepper, diced

generous dash cayenne pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced fine

1 t dried thyme
1 t dried marjoram
2 T dark red miso paste
8 c water, divided
2 large vegan bouillon cubes or 4 small ones (total of 4 cups’worth)
1 box PomI chopped tomatoes or 28 oz. chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 pieces Kombu seaweed, about 3″ long each

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced 1/2”
3 c red cabbage, sliced thin
5 cups or 1 bunch rainbow chard, chopped fine

1 c lima beans
1 c green peas frozen
salt and lemon pepper (black pepper can be substituted)


In a large soup/stock pot, saute diced onion, carrots, celery, and sweet bell pepper in 2-3 T olive oil over medium heat until onion becomes translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add garlic and cayenne.  Saute 2 more minutes. Add thyme, marjoram. Stir.  Add miso and 1/2 the water, kombu, bouillon cubes, tomatoes, and wheat berries. Bring to a  boil.  Lower heat to simmer and cook 10 min or until carrots are tender.  Add remaining water.  Return to simmer over medium heat.  Add sweet potato, cabbage and chard. Cook 10 min more.  Add lima beans and peas.  Cook 5 minutes more.  Remove kombu and bay leaf from pot.  Mince kombu and return to pot.  Discard bay leaf.

Taste the broth and add salt and lemon pepper to taste.

Serve with hearty, warm, whole grain bread.

(I know.  The picture could be better. But the soup is GREAT!)

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6 Comments on “Vegetable Soup for the Soul”

  1. michelle Says:

    Sounds absolutely delicious! Cannot wait to make this. Soups are so my favorite thing. I bet this soup will have you cured by tomorrow. Love all your posts you absolutely have a way with words.

  2. Winter’s just now settling down here in Georgia, and your apropos soup recipe sounds delicious.

  3. Wicked cold today! A soup like this could change everything. Hope you are feeling better, E.

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