Winter vegetable soup recipe: it's perfect for your homegrown winter greens

This delicious winter vegetable soup recipe is a great way to use up leafy greens if you're growing them in the garden

winter vegetable soup recipe: winter vegetables and barley
(Image credit: Ebury Press/Photograph by Dave Brown)

This hearty winter vegetable soup recipe is perfect for lunch during the colder months when you need something filling and nutritious to power you through the afternoon. It's comfort food at its very finest, just the thing if you've been out doing a spot of gardening too and need to warm up. 

The recipe is very versatile and can made using any root vegetables you have in the garden or the store cupboard. Plus, if you've already followed our tips on how to grow kale and you've got a plentiful supply, then this is a great way to put your homegrown crops to good use. 

This is a really flexible recipe, so you can swap things in and out according to what you have available in your veg patch too. Even better, it can be put together in minutes. It makes four to six portions and keeps in the fridge for a couple of days so you can have it on standby. 

Read on to find out how to make it, then head over to our guide on the best vegetables to grow in raised beds if you want to add some more varieties to your plot this year. 


winter vegetable soup recipe

(Image credit: Dave Brown/Ebury Press)


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 700g vegetables, unpeeled, if possible, and chopped – select at least 3 from: carrots, pumpkin, squash, celeriac, beetroot, swede, parsnip, turnip and kohlrabi
  • 150g cavolo nero, kale, Savoy cabbage or similar, shredded
  • A bouquet garni of 2 sprigs rosemary, 2 sprigs parsley and 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 1.2 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp Marmite or alternative yeast extract (optional)
  • salt and pepper


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole. Add the onion, celery and all the vegetables and sauté gently, stirring regularly, until starting to caramelise slightly around the edges. 

2. Add the bouquet garni, oregano and garlic to the pan along with the pearl barley. Season with salt and pepper and add the vegetable stock and the Marmite or yeast extract, if using. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover. Simmer gently for around 30 minutes until the vegetables are well on their way to being tender. 

3. Add the kale or cabbage to the pot and push down into the liquid. Add a little more stock or water if necessary – it should be quite a thick, hearty soup. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes until the greens are wilted, the vegetables are tender and breaking up, and the barley is cooked through. Check for seasoning and serve with chunks of sourdough.

You can find more advice on growing your own vegetables with our guides on how to grow garlic and how to grow carrots

The Plant Power Doctor by Dr Gemma Newman|  Available at Amazon

The Plant Power Doctor by Dr Gemma Newman| Available at Amazon
With more than 60 mouth-watering recipes to kick-start your journey, this book shares the transformative effect plant-powered eating can have on your health. Packed with ideas for easy breakfasts, family favourites, meals on the go and much more.

More grow your own advice: 

Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson has been a lifestyle journalist for many years, writing about gardens since 2015. She's written for, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, as well as Country Homes & Interiors and Modern Gardens magazines. 

Her own (small urban) garden is a work in progress  - so many ideas, not enough space to cram them in. Hero plants include her ever growing collection of ornamental grasses, black bamboo and ferns, and the perennials like salvias and penstemons that come back reliably year after year. All very restrained though when in fact she'd love to pack her garden with gaudy dahlias and giant cannas, so these are top of her wish list for what to grow next.