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Midwest Vegetable Soup

Recipe Info

Difficulty: Easy
Mess Level: Low
Yield: 6 Quarts
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 45 min



  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 1 Medium Sweet Potato or 2 Carrots
  • 3 Medium Yellow Potatoes
  • 2 Medium Garlic Cloves
  • 15 oz Can Mild Chili Beans in Sauce
  • 15 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas
  • 1 Cup Frozen Corn
  • 1 Cup Fresh Green Beans (Optional)
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • Oil for Sauteeing


  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin or Coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Onion or Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • Cayenne to Taste
  • Pepper to Taste
  • Salt to Taste


Note: To make a truly good soup you need to build flavor into the base. This is done by browning the vegetables, tasting the broth and continuing to add seasoning until it is incredibly flavorful.

  1. Finely dice the onion, then heat a soup pot to medium heat and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. Saute the onion, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, Finely dice the potato, sweet potato, and mince the garlic. Snap the ends off the green beans and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Add more oil to the pan if needed and add both the potatoes and all the spices, including salt and pepper.
  4. Saute until a brown layer forms on the bottom of the pan, then add the garlic and saute 30 seconds more.
  5. Add about 1 cup water or broth to the pan and stir to scrape up the brown bits. Then add the can of tomatoes and chili beans. Fill both cans halfway with hot water and pour them into the soup.
  6. Add the vegetable broth and stir to incorporate. Taste the soup and add more spices as needed. Do not be shy with the oregano, cumin, and onion powder.
  7. Bring the soup to a boil, then turn the burner to low and cover. Allow the soup to simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  8. Add the green beans and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the peas and corn and simmer one minute more. Check to make sure the green beans are tender and add any more spices desired.
  9. Serve piping hot with crusty, sourdough bread.

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Make It...

  1. Gluten Free: Yes! This dish is naturally gluten free.
  2. Vegan: Yes! This dish is naturally vegan.
  3. Instant Pot:
    1. (Omit green beans for this method)
    2. Complete steps 1-6 by sauteeing in your pressure cooker.
    3. Put the lid on, turn the valve to sealing, and select Manual or Pressure Cook for 2 minutes.
    4. It will take about 15 minutes to come to pressure and begin counting down.
    5. Once the cook time is over, let the pressure release naturally for 8-10 minutes before opening the valve and removing the lid. This is so you don’t splatter hot soup everywhere by venting manually.
    6. Stir in the peas and corn and adjust seasoning as needed.
  4. Slow Cooker:
    1. (Omit green beans for this method)
    2. Complete steps 1-6 and transfer to your slow cooker (if you really want to cheat you can skip the sauteeing part and just dump everything in minus the corn and peas).
    3. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Stir in the peas and corn and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Meal Prep: Follow these steps if you want to prep ahead of time:

    1. Complete this recipe all the way through.
    2. Allow to cool for an hour at room temperature, then allow to continue cooling, uncovered in the fridge.
    3. Once cold, you can cover and store for up to a week. You can also freeze the soup in individual portions for up to 4 months.

Ramblings of a Line Cook

11 kids, bags of frozen vegetables, potatoes by the 15lb bag. When considering food to purchase the questions were asked: “Is it on sale? Will it keep? How many meals can I get out of this?” Little did I know my mother’s frugal tendencies, a necessity when you have 11 children, would prepare me so well for life in a restaurant.

Dinner service, late nights, never enough of what’s being ordered that night. “Fire table three, stretch that sauce, find space on the grill, fries to the line!” The questions to ask: “Is it still good? Can I reuse that? How can I make this work?”

This soup is a culmination of my childhood and my life as a professional cook. The process is the same as any truly good soup; Build the base, always add more seasoning. Cumin, cumin, cumin… Taste, think, let the soup tell you what it needs.

It took me six months of working at a restaurant where I had to come up with a different soup every day for me to figure out that if you just taste, wander to the spice rack, grab what you know will not offend, and shake some in, it will eventually turn into something glorious. P.S If all else fails, add a little sugar, you might be pleasantly surprised.

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