This is a great recipe for a tomato-free garden vegetable soup that you are sure to love! It’s packed with barley, squash, zucchini, and so many other garden vegetables in a vegan chicken bouillon broth loaded with herbs and spices. It’s easy to make and sure to please. It may just be your new favorite vegetable soup!
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I love homemade vegetable soup pretty much any time of the year. And this vegan no tomato vegetable soup is great all year-round! It’s packed with fresh colorful veggies, filling barley, and a fantastic flavor that will make you swoon.
B challenged me to make a tomato-free garden vegetable soup. Apparently, that’s where a lot of my garden tomatoes were going: tomato soup.
And I thought “Absolutely!” I mean, I love a good challenge almost as much as I love a good hearty soup. So I went out to the garden for inspiration and got to work on this easy vegetable soup recipe.
I think you’re really going to love the results. Big pieces of fresh yellow squash, green zucchini and red bell peppers, potatoes and plump pearl barley, and a medley of herbs like fresh thyme and rosemary and spices that will have your taste buds singing.
Why is this the best vegetable soup recipe without tomatoes?
- This recipe uses garden-friendly veggies that are also easily accessible and among the cheapest in the produce aisle
- It’s great for meal prep and freezes fantastically for future meals
- The best part? It’s one of the tastiest soups I’ve ever eaten. Seriously, make a big batch.
Ingredients in This Vegetarian Vegetable Soup Recipe
It may LOOK like there are a long list of ingredients for this veggie soup, but they’re mostly common / affordable garden or grocery store veggies with some herbs and spices! It really is a simple recipe for a ridiculously delicious vegetable soup. Remember, you can find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Olive oil – optional
- Fresh Veggies: Carrots, celery, onion, russet potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell pepper
- Garlic cloves – finely minced
- Vegan chicken bouillon powder – We used our homemade vegan bouillon powder for a vegan chicken broth flavor!
- Fennel seeds – rough chopped
- Fresh Herbs: Rosemary, oregano, and thyme – stemmed and rough chopped
- Spices: Ground coriander, ground white pepper, red pepper flakes
- Bay leaves
- Hot water
- Sliced scallions – for garnish topping
How to Chop Vegetables for Vegetable Soup
I like to dice or quarter my vegetables into larger 1/2 inch pieces or so for this vegetable soup recipe.
In this section, I want to try and explain some of the easy ways of cutting various vegetables to make things easier if you are still working on your knife skills.
How to Chop Squash and Zucchini for Garden Veggie Soup
For the squash and zucchini:
- I’ll cut the ends off and slice them lengthwise in half.
- Then I’ll slice that half lengthwise again into 2 or 3 strips depending on the size of the fruit.
- From there you can dice them easily. You can do pretty much the exact same method for the carrots.
How to Chop Celery for Soup
The celery ribs can usually just be diced into large pieces after trimming the bottom and top, but if you have a particularly thick one you can split it lengthwise before dicing.
How to Chop Onions for Vegetable Soup
The onions can be a little more tricky:
- Using a large knife, cut your onion lengthwise from bottom to top. The bottom is the “hairy” part where the roots were, and the top is the part that comes to a point, where the stalk was cut.
- Lay the flat side on the counter and cut the bottom off each half. Leave the tops intact: you use them later for finger safety.
- Peel the inedible outer skin layers and place the onions flat side down on the cutting board again.
- Take one half and hold the sides firmly.
- Cut lengthwise from the bottom three to four times about 1/2 inch apart. Then you can slice across to make the large dice.
- Hold the sides firmly with your pinky and thumb while placing your fingers talon-style on the top, fingertips bent back slightly. This will keep them from being exposed to the knife’s blade. Move your fingers back slowly as you slice, keeping the tips bent back slightly.
How to Cut Peppers for Homemade Vegetable Soup
- You can cut the top of the bell pepper off just below the bottom of the green stem. Alternatively, you can also push the stem (pedicel) through the top and pull the chambers of the pepper apart.
- Once you have the interior of your pepper exposed, slice off the white capsaicin membrane and remove the seeds. Toss, use for composting, or save the seeds to plant later.
- Keep the exterior side down and slice into the soft internal part. This will help prevent knife slippage on the harder, “waxy” exterior.
- Keep your fingertips back and use them with slight pressure to hold the pepper in place.
- Slice the pepper into strips, pressing the knife down gently as you slice forward.
- Slide your fingers back slowly as you cut.
- Slice lengthwise top to bottom, then you can dice the pepper strips to the desired size
If you don’t have or can’t tolerate one of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember substituting any of the ingredients may lead to a (not always pleasant) change in the final product and flavor of the soup. Let us know in the comments if you try any subs and how they work out for you!
For the bouillon powder: Replace with bouillon cube(s), or paste (I’d use maybe 3-4 Tbsp paste). You can also just use vegetable broth.
If you want to use dried herbs instead of fresh, then you’ll want to decrease the amount by 1/3. So if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs, you’ll use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
Conversely, if you’re using fresh herbs instead of dry, then you’ll use 3 times what is called for in the recipe.
Freeze-dried herbs are a 1:1 exchange for fresh herbs.
If you want to switch out some of the herbs, tarragon would be nice. Simple Italian seasoning or basil would be a great addition too, especially if you have Thai basil growing in your garden!
You can use cumin powder or seed instead of or in addition to the coriander.
Lastly, you can top with fresh parsley (and some vegan parmesan cheese) if you’re not a fan of green onions.
How to mix and match the veggies:
The world is your garden. The beauty of this easy veggie soup is almost any seasonal vegetables you have is a good option. Almost.
You can add extra veggies like leeks or fresh fennel bulb (omit the fennel seed), kohlrabi, turnips or parsnips, green beans, asparagus, jicama, etc.
Give it a go with the veggies of your choice!
Make it nightshade-free:
This means you’re avoiding all peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. To make this recipe nightshade-free, you can omit the bell peppers, potatoes, and red pepper flakes.
Note: Sweet potatoes aren’t a nightshade, so you can sub sweet potato for the russet potatoes.
Also, black pepper and white pepper aren’t nightshades, but the red pepper flakes made from chili peppers are.
To replace the barley:
You can use just about any kind of rice to substitute for the barley in this recipe. I think long-grain wild rice would be a great earthy addition.
You can cook the rice first and add it at the end, or use the cooking directions of the rice to estimate when you should add it to the soup as it cooks.
Wheat berries are also a great substitute here. They’re also high in protein, fiber, calcium, and iron. Or you could add kidney beans, white beans, or black beans for some extra protein.
How to Prepare Vegetable Soup without Tomatoes
We’ll walk you through the simple steps here, but remember the full recipe can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the garlic, carrots, celery, and onion (aka “mirepoix”). Saute for about 5 minutes until aromatic.
Then, add all the herbs and spices, including the bouillon powder and bay leaves, to the mirepoix. Stir to coat.
Add the barley, potatoes, and hot water and turn the heat to high. Allow to cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
Next, add the zucchini, squash, and bell pepper. Turn the stove to medium heat and continue to cook for another 25-30 minutes (uncovered) until all the vegetables and barley are cooked through.
Can you make vegetable soup in a slow cooker?
I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure you can easily cook this recipe in your slow cooker or Instant Pot as well. Let us know in the comments if you do!
How to Serve This Vegetable Soup Recipe (without tomatoes)
Serve this healthy vegetable soup hot or slightly warmed. Remove the bay leaf before serving if desired, but it’s not required.
Top with sliced scallions and serve alongside a big piece of crusty bread with a hefty slather of vegan butter and our copycat Olive Garden Salad.
Or serve it with a nice vegan grilled cheese sandwich. Our vegan feta grilled cheese would be a fun option!
How to Store Leftover One Pot Vegetable Soup
You can store your leftover soup in the fridge for meal prep for the week, or freeze it for quick and easy future meals on a cold night.
How long does vegetable soup last in the fridge?
First, you want your homemade vegetable soup to cool completely uncovered or loosely covered in the containers you’re using before refrigerating.
When it’s cooled, make sure your airtight container is sealed well and place it in the refrigerator. Properly refrigerated leftover soup is best eaten within 4-5 days.
How long can you freeze vegetable soup?
Stored properly, vegetable soup should last 8-12 weeks in the freezer. Again, make sure your soup is cooled completely before freezing.
Transfer to an airtight sealed container or freezer bag. Leave some room for expansion as it freezes.
We like to use our Souper Cubes trays for perfect 1 or 2 cup portions.
More Tomato Free Soup Recipes:
- Healthy Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Creamy Vegan Spinach Soup
- Spicy Pumpkin Soup
- Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup
I really hope you enjoy this vegan vegetable soup recipe as much as we do. We can’t get enough of it, especially during garden season when vegetables are aplenty!
We’d love to hear what you think of it when you make it. Please leave a comment and star rating in the section below.
It really helps support our work, and it also helps get these recipes to more people like you!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (optional)
- 2 cups peeled and diced carrots
- 1 1/2 cups diced celery
- 1 1/2 cups diced onion
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp vegan chicken bouillon powder
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary - stemmed and rough chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh oregano - stemmed and rough chopped
- 1 Tbsp fennel seeds - rough chopped
- 1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme - stemmed and rough chopped
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 3/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Bay leaves
- 12 cups (3 quarts) hot water
- 2.5 cups peeled and diced russet potatoes
- 1 cup uncooked barley
- 3 cups halved and sliced zucchini
- 2 cups halved and sliced yellow squash
- 2 cups diced red bell pepper
- Sliced scallions for garnish topping
- In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the garlic, carrots, celery, and onion (aka “mirepoix”). Saute for about 5 minutes until aromatic.
- Then, add all the herbs and spices, including the bouillon powder and bay leaves, to the mirepoix. Stir to coat.
- Add the barley, potatoes, and hot water and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil and allow to cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Add the zucchini, squash, and bell pepper. Turn the heat to down to medium and continue to cook for another 25-30 minutes (uncovered) until all the vegetables and barley are cooked through.
- Serve hot in a bowl. Remove the bay leaves before serving if desired. Serve topped with scallions alongside a crusty piece of bread with a hefty slather of vegan butter.
Serving Size:1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 423mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 9gSugar: 8gProtein: 6g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.