Winter Soup Recipes as Late-Fall Crops Take Center Stage

Brussels sprouts mature under a late-October sun. Photo/Nicole Caldwell
Our trip out to the garden today was significantly shorter than in recent weeks, with far fewer crops to choose from. Tomatoes (except for a few brave, hardy cherries), peppers, salad greens, and even squashes have run their course; leaving rows and rows of composted plant matter turning to dirt over old hay and cardboard.

Thanks to our rotating planting season and several great picks for autumnal veggies (gotta love those summer interns!), we've probably got another month's worth of leeks and celery, and the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are still coming in strong. Our new intern May, Brian Hines (newly back from Afghanistan!) and I gathered enough to make plenty of delicious soups over the next few days:

May and Brian show off, from left to right, leeks, an earthworm, more leeks, and an enormous celery plant.
Here are a couple great  soup recipes you can whip up with the ingredients blossoming now in your garden:
Quick and Easy Potato-Leek Soup
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
2 Leeks
4 Potatoes (any kind will work!)
6 to 8 cups Vegetable Broth or Water (with spices of your choice and/or bouillon cubes)

Cut the leeks and potatoes up and throw them in a saucepan with the olive oil. Saute until leeks  soften, about 5 minutes. Add the broth (water should cover the top of the potatoes and leeks). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are as soft as you like them. You can use a stick blender or food processor to combine everything, or just eat as-is.

Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup
(from Urban Organic Gardener)
1 1/2 small heads of cauliflower (or one large)
1 leek the bottom white and light green part
5-6 cloves of garlic
3-4 cups veggie broth
Tablespoon of olive oil
Dash of sea salt

Chop up cauliflower and put into bowl. Smash the garlic cloves. Slice up leeks and smashed garlic and put into bowl with cauliflower. Pour olive oil over the veggies with salt and toss to coat. Put on a baking sheet into the oven at about 425 degrees for 40-45 minutes until they start to brown. Heat the saucepan with some olive oil and put roasted veggies in. Cover with veggie broth. Allow to boil. Either use a hand blender and blend down in the pan or add to food processor to blend down until smooth. Transfer to bowl and top with leek and garlic pieces.

Pumpkin Soup
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

1 tablespoon margarine
1 onion, diced
16 oz. pumpkin puree
1 1/3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups soy milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, cook the onion in the margarine for 3-5 minutes, until onion turns clear. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Cook over medium heat for another 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!
Makes 4 servings of vegetarian pumpkin soup.

Got a great fall recipe to share? E-mail them to us at

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.