Have a hankering for that Vegetable Alphabet Soup from your childhood? You can make it yourself, without the help of a can. Just good food.
I am a child of the 70s which means that carpet was shaggy (as were men’s hairstyles), pants were bell-bottomed, and soup came in a can. I didn’t know any different for a really long time, and honestly I was fine with that.
And one of my very favorites was Alphabet Soup with Vegetables.
Homemade alphabet soup!
I bought canned soup in college and in my newlywed years, but after a few issues of Bon Appetit and a thorough reading of A Feast of Soups, I realized I could make my own soup — even better than the can.
(Plus, I can pronounce every single ingredient.)
Sometimes I don’t use a recipe, I just use up leftovers in a basic soup like Pantry Challenge Minestrone or Stone Soup. However, when I want to recreate my favorite childhood soup, well this is my recipe. It took a little tweaking, but I think it tastes just like that Alphabet Soup of yore, only it’s got all real ingredients and no funny business.
Ingredients needed for this alphabet soup recipe
Here’s what you need – not much!
- a big stockpot
- good wooden spoon
- alphabet pasta
- some spices
- some olive oil
- some vegetable broth
This soup is featured in my latest cookbook, Good Cheap Eats Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less. If you like this recipe, you’ll love the book. I promise it will more than earn its keep.
How to make alphabet soup
- Saute onion and garlic. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion starts to turn translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Watch for scorching.
- Add the vegetable broth. Add the broth, to taste, scraping up any browned bits.
- Add veggies and spices. Add the corn, peas, green beans, carrot, tomato sauce, dill, paprika, cayenne, and salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a low boil. (This may take up to 10 minutes.)
- Boil the pasta. Add the pasta and cook until tender, another 7 minutes or so. Adjust the seasonings and serve.
The soup can be cooled and stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Homemade soup is always one of the foods I love keeping my freezer.
Where can I find alphabet pasta?
It’s actually fairly common in most grocery stores, or you can buy it online. But if you can’t find any you can substitute it with another small shaped pasta like elbow pasta.
What do I serve with this alphabet soup?
How can I make this soup recipe economically?
By their very nature, soup recipes are very budget-friendly. However, here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe even more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When you see a good price on tomato sauce, broth, or your spices, buy a few extra to stash for later. You know you’ll use them. Stocking up can save you money.
- Buy spices in bulk. I regularly buy larger containers of spices I use frequently, like pepper, sea salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. I store excess dried herbs and ground spices in the freezer if I know it will be awhile before I go through the large container.
What tools do I need to make bean soup?
This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.
Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:
- 5-quart pot with lid – I have this one. It’s perfect for cooking chili or a big pot of rice.
- dual-sided silicone spatula/spoon – This is great for the cooking process as well as scraping every last bit out of the pan.
Alphabet Soup with Vegetables
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 6 to 8 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 cup frozen green beans
- 1 carrots peeled and diced
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1 tsp dried dill
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- pinch ground cayenne pepper
- black pepper
- 1 cup alphabet pasta
- In a large stockpot, heat the oil over high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion starts to turn translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Watch for scorching.
- Add the broth, to taste, scraping up any browned bits.
- Add the corn, peas, green beans, carrot, tomato sauce, dill, paprika, cayenne, and salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a low boil. (This may take up to 10 minutes.)
- Add the pasta and cook until tender, another 7 minutes or so. Adjust the seasonings and serve.
- The soup can be cooled and stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.