Once you’ve made the base of this vegetable soup, you can add anything you like. A mixture of root and green vegetables work well, added at different stages. You can even add leftover cooked or frozen vegetables.
- 2 tbsp oil (any cooking oil will do)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
- 250g/9oz root vegetables, such as carrots or parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced or cut into roughly 1cm/½in chunks
- 250g/9oz green vegetables, such as 1 courgette, halved and sliced, and 125g/4½oz green beans, trimmed and cut into three
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes, or until softened and very lightly browned, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds more, stirring.
Tip the tomatoes into the pan, add the tomato purée and oregano and simmer for 2–3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add 1.2 litres/2 pints of water (you can fill the empty can of tomatoes with cold water three times so you don’t have to use a measuring jug) and crumble over the stock cube.
Bring the soup to a simmer, then add any vegetables you like. Add root vegetables first and cook for 10 minutes, before adding the raw green vegetables such as beans or courgettes and cook for 5 minutes. Cooked or frozen vegetables should be added for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Stir regularly and add extra water if needed.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in deep bowls topped with grated cheese if you like.