Virginia Willis’ Vegan Vegetable Soup

Southern Kitchen
Virginia Willis’ Vegan Vegetable Soup

About the recipe

This vegan vegetarian soup from Virginia Willis doesn’t require hours of simmering ham bones or pots of homemade vegetable stock. It is what is ingloriously referred to in the parlance of food writers as a “dump-and-stir” — but absolutely packed with flavor. (The secret is a shot of umami-packed miso.)

Serves: Makes 10 cups

Hands On Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered  

1 onion, chopped

3 carrots, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

2 stalks celery, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (32-ounce) container low-sodium vegetable juice 

2 cups water

1 (14.5-ounce) can whole or stewed tomatoes

1 tablespoon miso or tomato paste

2 bay leaves, preferably fresh

1 sprig fresh thyme

2 cups shelled fresh butter beans (about 1 1/2 pounds unshelled) or frozen butter beans, thawed

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)

4 ounces fresh okra, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the vegetable juice, tomatoes, miso, bay leaves and thyme. Stir to combine. Add the butterbeans and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to simmer. Cook until the vegetables are just tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the okra and continue to cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into warm bowls and serve immediately.