Sweet and Simple Vegetable Soup


Sometimes, inspiration strikes and the results are even better than expected.

The story of how this soup came to be is far too long for a single blog post. Just know that I was looking to make a flavorful, comfort-food type soup using some of the vegetables I had on hand. If it was healthy and inexpensive as well, all the better.

My root-cellar-garage still held squash, onions, and cabbage, and this somewhat unlikely trio became the base of an amazing soup. Everyone I have shared this with has loved it, even those who didn’t believe that they would like something using just these three vegetables. In fact, some of my testers have recommended that I avoid titles like Squash Cabbage Soup, since too many might be reluctant to even try it.

So here is an ungainly named soup that is likely to get compliments from even those most averse to one or more of these vegetables. Combined, they result in an unexpectedly sweet yet still savory flavor; just don’t omit the herbs, since they are what is needed to bring this all together.

(Please note: there is a companion post here, in case you struggle with easily preparing butternut and other winter squashes:  Tackling That Hard Shelled Butternut Squash )


A friend has tried this soup and found it to be “missing something,” so I looked back at it and realized I probably left out one of the most important things about making soup:  Be sure you use enough salt!

It is incredibly amazing how much salt soup sometimes requires. Because there can be great differences in the saltiness of bouillon powders (or stock if you use that instead of the bouillon and water), you may want to increase the amount of bouillon or add more salt. The key with any homemade soup is to taste and adjust, taste and adjust.

Other ideas if you end up with a soup that doesn’t quite seem as flavorful as you’d like:

  • more salt, especially seasoning salt
  • more black pepper
  • a dash (or more ) of Worcestershire sauce
  • maybe a bit of hot sauce to liven the overall flavor
  • for some soups, a teaspoon of sugar or a tablespoon or two of applesauce might add the bit of sweetness needed to bring out the overall flavors

If you are worried about adding too much salt, put a tablespoon or so of the soup into a small bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. If that brings up the flavor to what you like, then go ahead and salt the main batch of soup. For now, I have added “salt to taste” in the main ingredients list.

Any other thoughts on how you have been able to bring out the best in your soup flavors? Post a comment to share!

You Have to Try It to Believe It Soup

 canola or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 to 2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 c butternut squash, diced  (about 8-10 oz)
4 c coarsely shredded cabbage (about 10-12 oz)
2 to 4 c water
1 T chicken or vegetarian bouillon powder (or 2 bouillon cubes)
1 t dried basil
1 t dried oregano
salt and black pepper to taste

1.  Put just enough oil in a large skillet or soup pot to lightly cover the bottom. Heat over medium high and add the onion and celery. Saute until the onion is translucent and beginning to turn golden.

2.  Add the squash cubes and cover the pan. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

3.  Add the cabbage and about two cups of water, along with the bouillon powder, basil and oregano. Cover and continue to simmer until the squash and cabbage are tender. As the soup cooks, you may add more water to reach the desired consistency.

4.  Taste to adjust for seasonings, adding salt and/or black pepper as desired.


Use chicken or vegetable stock in place of the water and bouillon powder. Add salt to taste.

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