Alternative to Canned Vegetable Soup

My lunch at the office most days consists of leftovers from dinner the night before. Every once in a while, however, I end up without something to take for lunch. What I will often do on those mornings is throw together a very quick soup. It’s little more effort than buying canned soup, yet tastes better, is cheaper, and is better for you. I keep dehydrated veggies, such as celery and bell pepper on hand for real time crunches, although if time allows, I will use fresh. If you use fresh, just chop them finely so they cook quickly. Although this is usually a weekday meal, I made it this morning (Sunday) for breakfast because I went on a spice extravaganza at Penzey’s on Friday (there’s a store near my office) and after filling all my spice jars at home later, had small amounts of some of the dehydrated veggies left over that didn’t fit, so I figured I’d use them up. And I wanted breakfast in a hurry!

Better-Than-Canned Vegetable Soup

1/2 onion, chopped finely (you can used dried minced onion if you are really out of time – I’ve done so many times)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (you can use garlic powder, maybe 1/2 tsp, if you want to be even faster)
1-2 Tbsp dehydrated celery (or 1-2 stalks fresh, chopped finely)
1-2 Tbsp dehydrated bell pepper (or 1/2 pepper, chopped finely)
1-2 Tbsp dehydrated tomato (or just use more tomato sauce, or canned diced tomatoes, or 1/2 fresh tomato, or whatever you want)
4 cups vegan broth, any flavor
1/3 cup tomato sauce or 2 Tbsp tomato paste – what I often use, including today, is leftover pizza sauce: that’s what’s in the red refrigerator box above.
freshly ground pepper and other spices/herbs to taste – my pizza sauce had oregano and red pepper flakes in it, so I didn’t add any more seasonings and it was perfect
1/3 cup small pasta shapes, such as alphabet, tiny shells, orzo, small macaroni, etc.

If you are using fresh onions and/or garlic, put a small soup pot over medium heat on a burner, and add a small amount of olive oil to heat up while you prep the onions and/or garlic:

Then saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes.

If you are using dried onion and garlic, just put the soup pot on the burner and turn it on. Add the broth, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil.

Add all the dehydrated veggies.

Measure the pasta.

Add the pasta and tomato sauce to the pot, as well as any seasonings.

Turn down the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. When I’m making this before work, this is when I’ll go hop in the shower or eat breakfast. Since I’m not working today and wasn’t in a hurry, I spent the 15 minutes doing this:

Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Let it cool – at least slightly – before placing a serving into a container for transport to work, or just dig in.

It’s not a culinary masterpiece, but it’s decent, costs next to nothing, and doesn’t contain all the sodium (and in many cases high fructose corn syrup or other sugars) of canned soups, and considering the small deli in my office building contains very few vegan options, it saves me a trip out of the building in search of lunch.


  1. Jes Said,

    April 5, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

    Mmm vegetable soup! Your version looks super good and satisfying!

  2. Courtney Said,

    April 5, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

    WHY do most canned soups have sugar or corn syrup in them?! This looks great–thanks!


  3. Ksenia Said,

    April 6, 2009 @ 12:59 am

    I love your recipes because they are for real people =)
    I love cooking, but sometimes you need a quick, easy and tasty recipe. And if the quick, easy and tasty recipe is a soup, even better 😉

    I always read your blog (I am subscribed ) but it’s the first time I leave a comment. Sorry ^^U Now I started a blog too, and I understand how important are the comments.
    The photos of your husband always make me laugh, je je !!

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