Now that we’re getting into official Fall-mode, I’m leaning away from salads and am getting my veggie quota in soups. When it’s earlier in the season, I like something hearty but with a broth to keep it on the lighter side. This week, I pulled out my favorite recipe for Vegetable Beef Soup and thought you might like to try it! The beauty of this one, is that I cook it in a slow cooker, so it’s something I can prepare easily on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The cooking time is flexible so it’s pretty much ready to eat when we are.
Put Some Meat on Your Bones
Most slow cooker soups and stews are supposed to cook for 8-9 hours, but I kind of like the meat a little firmer. Get 1-lb. beef stew meat (I like the Kosher variety) and cube into small bite-size. I’m going to throw myself under the bus and let you know I just use kitchen scissors and throw it in the pan as I go. Brown the cubed beef in a pan on medium heat to seal in the juices. You don’t want to cook it all the way, just give it a nice sear all around.
Farmer’s Market Shopping Excuse – Done!
Next, I grab handfuls of carrots and celery and chop them up bite-size too. If you’re going to a Farmer’s Market this weekend, grab some of the vegetables in this Vegetable Beef Soup recipe. I love trying different varieties of any vegetable I use to change the flavors of what I’m cooking. That way I can use the same recipe and get a whole different outcome. Use this recipe as a base and make it as special or as easy as you want.
Fight the Flu With Onion POWER
Next, chop up onions and add a package of onion soup mix (try Trader Joe’s Onion Dip Mix which has no MSG). This is half of the flavor of the broth. Onions are high in Vitamin C and are linked to disease prevention. This is what makes vegetable beef soup perfect when heading into flu season! Fun fact: after I had surgery on my arm, I was craving onions like crazy! Onion soup, onion rings, you name it. I looked up “what does it mean when you are craving onion” and learned about it’s natural antibiotic effect. Thanks Google!
Gluten-Free, No Big Deal
Use smaller, new or red potatoes and chop them bite-size. We use tri-color potatoes at our house, because it’s an easy way to add color to any meal. Colorful potatoes also provide carotenoids that white potatoes do not. Carotenoids are pigments that help cancer prevention in addition to the nutrients white or yellow potatoes carry. An added benefit is that this soup is fairly low in sugar and is gluten-free, too.
Slice and Dice
Finally, I throw in a can of chopped diced tomatoes (the other half of the broth flavor) and 32 oz. beef broth. This is just another shortcut I use to make the prep time super quick. You can chop tomatoes if you want to freshen it up and experiment with variety.
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Oh, Bay Leaves, Where Have You Been All My Life
Season the vegetable beef soup mixture with 2 bay leaves and salt & pepper and you’re good to go! I love the salt content of bay leaves and they also contain antiseptic, anti-oxidant, and digestive properties. After the soup has been served, store it in an air-tight container and have it again for lunch! It’s even better after it’s had a chance to rest and marinate.
A Slow Cooker is Any Busy Girl’s BFF
This Vegetable Beef Soup recipe is rustic and simple, just how I like my men. J/K. I love the pretty boys. But I do love this soup and hope you like it, too. Feel free to put in as much or as little veggies as you’re feeling or have on hand. If your kids love carrots, add another handful!
Here are some slow cooker staples if you get into the easy way of making things happen in the kitchen. The recipe book I’ve been using for over 15 years, tried-and-true.
Gina’s Not-So-Secret Vegetable Beef Soup
1 (ish) lb. beef stew meat, browned
3-4 carrots (20-30 baby carrots), cut bite-sized
3-4 celery, cut bite-sized
1 coarsely chopped onion
1 pkg. onion soup mix
6-7 red or tri-color potatoes, cut bite-sized
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced and fire-roasted tomatoes
32 oz. beef broth
2 bay leaves
salt + pepper
Stir in slow cooker and cook on low 7-8 hours. Prep time: 20-30 minutes.
Optional: You can adjust the cook time to suit your day using the temperature guide below.
Low 7-8 hours
High 1 hour, Low 5-6 hours
High 3-4 hours
Did You Try It?
If you gave this recipe a try let us know how you liked it! We’d love to hear your ideas. It’s an easy one to doctor up by adding barley or different veggies.