French vegetable soup (also known as a potage) is a traditional vegetable filled soup popular throughout France that's both healthy and warming.
One of the most wonderful things about food is how it can bring you back to a certain feeling or moment, allowing you to re-live an experience: the people, the place, how you felt, all sparked by the act of making something to eat. That’s what making this French vegetable soup does for me.
It’s the kind of soup my grandmother and great-grandmother often had simmering on the stove; a simple vegetable soup that can be found in most French homes and in every grocery store.
Often referred to as a vegetable potage or by the number of vegetables it contains such as a 7 vegetable soup (soupe aux 7 legumes), it’s a thick and velvety soup that’s cozy and comforting and a staple during the colder months. The most common ingredients are a base of leeks, carrots, and potatoes to which celery, zucchini, turnips and tomatoes are added along with fresh herbs and garlic.
Please don’t underestimate the potential for the amazing depth of flavor this soup possesses by the relative simplicity of its ingredients. No single vegetable dominates here, rather each works together in harmony with the others to create something greater than can possibly be anticipated. The slow simmering of the vegetables together with a few seasonings in water, rather than broth, coalesces them into a soup every bit as delicious as more complex preparations. It’s a satisfying soup that is both healthy and comforting and one that everyone should know how to make at home themselves.
How to make French vegetable soup:
This recipe is an adapted version of the vegetable soup my grandmother and great-grandmother made many years ago. Easy to make, even better the next day; this soup has an infinite number of possible variations as far as the vegetables are concerned.
- First you start by sweating leeks in olive oil over low heat until they soften. Next garlic is added in and stirred until fragrant.
- It’s at this point that the vegetables and herbs are added. Everything goes in the pot at once, is covered with water and seasoned with salt and pepper.
- The soup is brought to a boil then slowly simmered for at least an hour to allow for all the flavors to mingle.
- After an hour the soup is poured into a blender, and pulsed until smooth and creamy. That’s all there is to it!
As with most soups this one keeps well in the fridge for a few days, so you can make it ahead of time and reheat as needed.
More soups to warm up with:
A traditional French soup filled with fresh vegetables.
- 1 Tablespoon/15ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 leek (white and pale green parts only), well rinsed and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced or grated on a microplane
- 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium or 2 small yellow potatoes, cut into cubes
- 1 small or ½ a large turnip, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅛th teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Enough filtered water to cover the vegetables by 2 inches
- In a large heavy stockpot or soup pot heat the olive-oil and cook sliced leeks (stirring occasionally) over low heat (do not brown) for 5 minutes to soften. Add garlic and stir until fragrant (less than a minute).
- Add the remaining vegetables along with the herbs, salt and pepper and cover with enough water to cover the vegetables by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour until the vegetables are very tender, and the broth has reduced slightly (the longer the soup simmers the more flavorful)
- Carefully remove the bay leaves and thyme branches and discard. Pour soup into blender jar and
pulse until smooth.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with more black pepper and a few sprigs of thyme if desired.
- Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat the next day.
The soup can be puréed in a blender or with a hand-held immersion blender.
Variations: Add or substitute any other winter vegetables such as parsnips, turnips or celery root to the soup as you please, always remembering to cover the vegetables with at least 2-inches of water.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 588mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 4g
Nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. are only estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate.
Sylvie Shirazi is the recipe developer and food photographer behind Gourmande in the Kitchen. For the last 10 years she's been making eating more healthfully easy and accessible with gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and vegan recipes that are free from processed ingredients.