I did a lot of experimenting to come up with a Vegetable beef soup that I really like. Most seem very bland to me or loaded with tomato sauce. This has a little kick to it, but I would never call it "hot" and spicy. Just a mild something extra that you don't usually taste in regular versions of this soup. I prefer to make this in the crockpot. It freezes beautifully. Don't add potatoes until you plan to eat it (microwave, chop, and add), especially if you plan to freeze this dish. I have found that potatoes get mushy in frozen soups.