In the depths of winter, all I want is foods that are hearty and warming.  Soups, stews, chilis – I love them all.  Of course, at a time of year when the stores aren’t exactly bursting with seasonal produce of every variety, it is important to focus on foods that are comforting but also nourishing.  A recent craving for vegetable soup brought to my attention that I did not have a reliable go-to veggie soup recipe.  I have tried many recipes in the past but none of them really stuck.  Clearly that needed to be addressed.

Gathering inspiration from my crisper drawer and my desire to enjoy garlicky bread in as many ways as possible, this vegetable soup with garlicky croutons was born. I prefer soups with are heavy on substance and not too much liquid, so I added a hefty dose of veggies to the pot.  The soup is great all on its own, but the croutons just take it over the top.  I’m very glad to have another excellent soup recipe in my repertoire.  After all, there is still plenty of winter to be got through.

  • Yield about 8-10 servings


For the soup: 
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Parmesan rind (optional, but recommended)
12 oz. fingerling potatoes, cut into ¼-inch thick pieces
4 cups baby spinach leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the croutons: 
3 cups multigrain bread cubes
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 01

    In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, melt the butter over medium high heat.  Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pot and cook until mostly softened, about 6-7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and sauté about 1 minute, just until fragrant. Stir in the diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, bay leaf, thyme and the Parmesan rind.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and let cook 20 minutes.

  • 02

    Add the chopped fingerling potatoes to the pot and simmer just until the potatoes are fork tender.  Stir in the spinach and cook until fully wilted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the bay leaf.

  • 03

    While the soup is simmering, make the croutons.  Heat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat.  Melt the butter over medium to medium-low heat.  Stir in the garlic and cook about 1 minute.  Stir in the bread cubes, tossing with the butter.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to cook the bread cubes, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and crisp on all sides (adjusting the heat if necessary).   Serve the soup warm with the croutons on top.