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Soups From The Garden

By Home Garden Seed Association
Photographs courtesy of Home Garden Seed Association

Cool weather brings cravings for savory soups. Many Home Garden Seed Association member websites offer recipes for preparing your favorite garden vegetables in addition to how-to guidance on growing. Remember to check seed company resources for garden advice from the experts!

Here are three garden-inspired soup recipes from HGSA members.

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Chard and Potato Soup

This hearty but not heavy soup is perfect for cold, wet days.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 bunch chard, coarse stems removed, shredded in thin strips (about 6 cups)
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Garnish: chopped chives and sour cream

In a large saucepan, heat oil, add garlic and onion, and sauté until softened. Add celery, potatoes, chard, and prosciutto and toss with onion mixture. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer, cooking until potatoes are very tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Mash potatoes in pan with a potato masher until coarsely broken up. Add vinegar and cook soup uncovered for another ten minutes to concentrate flavors. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve, garnishing each bowl with a sprinkle of chopped chives and a dollop of sour cream. Makes 9 cups.


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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Serve this soup on a cold fall day with crusty bread on the side. You can use fresh broccoli, or leftover steamed broccoli as long as it is still firm.

  • 1 head of broccoli florets cut up into small pieces (about 2 cups) steamed slightly
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (black or hot)
  • 1 pound cheddar cheese, grated fine
  • Dried potato flakes (or one leftover potato, riced)

Sauté onion and garlic in butter. Add broth and milk and bring to a simmer. Add pepper and cheese and stir until melted, and return to simmer. Add potato flakes (or riced potato) as needed to thicken. Continue to stir until thickened. Stir in broccoli and serve.

For a twist, sprinkle with fresh grated nutmeg.


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Tuscan Bean Soup with Squash and Kale

  • 1 finely chopped carrot
  • 1 stick finely chopped celery
  • 1 small finely chopped onion
  • 1 14 ounce can (400 grams) of cooked Borlotti (cranberry) beans (you can also use cannellini beans or chickpeas)
  • 1 small bunch of cavolo nero (also known as dinosaur or Tuscan) kale (you could use Swiss chard, beet greens, collards or spinach instead)
  • 1 cup pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups of water or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Gently cook the carrot, celery and onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil and a good pinch of salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on low heat. Let the vegetables sweat, not color, for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add the borlotti beans with about a cup of water (enough to cover) and bring to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes. Blend about half of the mixture to a smooth paste and return to the pot.

In the meantime, prepare the kale by slicing out the long, central stalk of the leaves and discarding, and roughly chop just the leaves.

Add the pumpkin, potatoes, and kale (if using Swiss chard or spinach hold onto it until a few minutes towards the end of cooking) and top with enough water or stock to cover (up to 4 cups or 1 liter), and cook for 30 minutes, uncovered, over an active simmer so that the liquid reduces slightly and the vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning.

Serve with a good grinding of black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and toasted bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.


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