Rich, very flavorful vegetable beef soup makes a comforting start to a winter meal and is hearty enough to be served as a delicious and filling main course.
This soup is so wonderfully filling and satiating! In the past, I used to think about soup as unsatisfying. A flimsy first course. If I had soup as my main course, I just “had” to have bread with it, or I wasn’t satisfied.
Now I know that when a bowl of soup is rich, hearty and flavorful, there’s really no need for bread. A truly rich soup, much like chili, is a complete meal! (And speaking of rich, satisfying soups, another hearty soup that I love is this spicy cabbage soup.)
The ingredients you’ll need
These are the ingredients you’ll need to make this rich and tasty vegetable beef soup. Exact amounts are listed in the recipe card below:
Olive oil: This is my favorite oil to cook with. But if you’d rather use an oil with a higher smoke point, you can use avocado oil instead.
Vegetables: Onion, garlic, carrots, and celery.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, or a heavily salted tomato product, you might want to reduce the amount you use.
Lean ground beef: I use an 85/15 mixture. I’ve experimented with leaner mixtures and decided that they were too dry.
Dried spices: Oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and a bay leaf. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Beef broth: Store-bought, or sometimes I use homemade bone broth when I happen to have some in the freezer.
Pomi chopped tomatoes: These tomatoes are sweeter and less acidic than American canned tomatoes. Another good brand is Cento.
Grated Parmesan: Make sure you use finely grated cheese, not coarsely shredded.
The tomato brand you use makes a difference
I use Pomi chopped tomatoes in this vegetable beef soup recipe. They are imported from Italy, and they are noticeably sweeter, thicker, and less acidic than American canned diced tomatoes. You can find them in supermarkets, at Whole Foods, and on Amazon. I highly recommend them in this recipe for the best results.
Another good Italian brand that might be easier to find in regular supermarkets is Cento. I believe that Cento Crushed Tomatoes should work in this recipe, although I haven’t tried it.
Alternatively, you could try using two (14 oz) cans of American diced tomatoes, undrained. But if the tomato chunks are big, please chop them so that they are smaller, or use petite-diced tomatoes. And do taste the soup – you might need to add just a touch of a sweetener (maybe a teaspoon of honey) to balance out the acidity of American canned tomatoes.
How to make vegetable beef soup
It’s so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Cook the onions, carrots and celery in olive oil.
Add the ground beef, garlic, and spices. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Stir in the beef broth and tomatoes.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. This is the stage that allows all the wonderful flavors to meld together and it also thickens the soup.
How to serve it
This is a main-dish soup, a complete meal. If you’d like to serve it alongside something, try one of the following:
Adjusting the salt in this recipe
This vegetable beef soup recipe relies on two packaged products that can greatly vary – tomatoes and broth. So you really do need to taste the soup before serving and see if you need to adjust anything.
As mentioned above, American canned tomatoes are very acidic, so you might need to add a teaspoon of honey.
As for salt, I use low-sodium tomatoes (Italian brands are low in sodium) but regular (not reduced-sodium) beef broth. If you use a different combination, you might need to use less or more salt in this recipe. So taste and decide – it’s the only way to get it right.
A lower-carb version
For a lower-carb version of this soup, you can omit the carrots. This version has 12 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber per serving. So it’s pretty low carb.
What to do with leftovers of this vegetable beef soup?
Leftovers keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days, in an airtight container. Reheat them gently, covered, in a 50% power microwave, or on low heat on the stovetop.
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Vegetable Beef Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced (8 oz)
- 2 cups diced carrots (2 large carrots, 8 oz)
- 2 cups diced celery (8 oz)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1 lb. lean ground beef (85/15)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 (26 oz) container Pomi chopped tomatoes
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan for serving
- Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the oil.
- Stir in the onions, carrots and celery and season with half the salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, garlic, the remaining salt and pepper, oregano, rosemary and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring to break up the beef as it cooks, until the beef is browned, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the beef broth, tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf. Divide the vegetable beef soup among six individual bowls (appetizer) or four individual bowls (main course) and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.