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Summer Tomato-Vegetable Soup

Anne Byrn's Summer Tomato-Vegetable Soup

Serves: 6 to 8

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1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces ground turkey or beef (optional)
1/2 cup diced onions
2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped into 1-inch dice (about 7 cups)
2 to 2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons tomato sauce (see note)
1 bay leaf
1 to 2 teaspoons dried chicken bouillon or 1 tablespoon bouillon paste (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups assorted summer vegetables, such as diced squash, 1-inch pieces of green beans, and/or sliced okra
1 small ear white or yellow corn, kernels cut from the cob (about 1/2 cup)
2 packed cups fresh spinach or kale leaves (optional)


In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground turkey, if using, and cook, stirring, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion, and continue to cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and all of their juices to the pot along with 2 cups of the water, the tomato sauce and the bay leaf. Add the chicken bouillon, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and let the tomatoes simmer until they've broken down, 15 to 20 minutes. (If using fresh green beans, add them with the tomatoes.)

Stir in the mixed vegetables and the corn. Cover the pot and continue to simmer until the vegetables are just cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water if needed. Taste for seasoning about halfway through the cooking, and add more salt and pepper as needed.

If desired, just before serving, add the spinach or kale to the pot, and stir until the greens wilt. Spoon into bowls and serve.

Photo: Anne Byrn

About the recipe

This easy, adaptable vegetable soup recipe from Anne Byrn makes the most of a late summer Southern garden. Between the pounds of tomatoes and assorted just-picked vegetables, it is bright and cheery, but still comforting in the way that all good soups should be. 

To intensify the tomato flavor of the soup, Byrn add a couple tablespoons tomato sauce. Keep in mind that you need a mix of vegetables. Okra, for example, is a thickener, so don't add more than 1 cup. And different veggies cook at different rates. Break the green beans into 1-inch pieces. Add them to the pot along with the tomatoes to get a little extra time cooking.

This soup freezes well for up to six months.