Dad's Secret Ingredient Vegetable Soup

Total Time
3hrs 15mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 3 hrs

There's nothing like a big pot of hearty soup simmering away on the stove in chilly weather. Dad would often make a simple vegetable soup by simply opening up a can or two of whatever vegetables were in the cupboard. I've adapted it to using fresh and frozen veggies but the important part -- our "secret ingredient" is the same. For the very best vegetable soup don't leave out the cabbage. ;-)

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Using a very large pot that will hold at least 12qts, preferable more, brown the beef in the olive oil.
  2. Peel and dice onions and carrots. Dice potatoes, peeling if you prefer.
  3. Put everything except the barley and cabbage into the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring several times.
  4. Use a knife to shred the cabbage finely in strips as if for sauerkraut.
  5. Add cabbage and barley. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring several times.
  6. Serve with hearty, crusty bread.
  7. Note: If you have some odds and ends of cooked, unseasoned veggies hanging around in the fridge you can add them along with the cabbage and barley. Don't overdo broccoli or other cabbage-family veggies because some cabbage is necessary too much upsets the balance of flavors.
  8. Note: You can readily substitute fresh vegetables for frozen. I just use frozen because I usually make it in the winter when fresh veggies are not cost-effective.
  9. Note: Freezes well and is even better after sitting overnight.


Most Helpful

Love this soup! It is exactly what I was looking for in making a vegetable soup!

click.rachael September 12, 2010

We really loved this soup! I used all fresh veggies and with the cabbage it was so thick and hearty. A perfect meal for these cold winter nights. This is definitely my new favorite veggie soup. Thanks for posting!

KLBoyle December 21, 2007

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a