1/6/2022 | By Diane Rossen Worthington

Cold temperatures call for soul-soothing, body warming soups. American food authority Diane Rossen Worthington brings us this colorful four vegetable soup for soup season.

For the first week of the new year, I make up a big pot of veggie soup. I love that it has so many possibilities. I can change up the veggies, use different tomato flavoring, and toss in pasta, rice or farro for added substance. This soup is bubbling away on top of my stove as I consider what beans I might choose to add to this colorful dish. I usually choose garbanzos, but cooked white beans or cannellini beans would also be good.

My latest rendition uses tomato paste instead of diced or crushed tomatoes. When the tomato paste is cooked, it takes on a slightly caramelized flavor and boosts up the flavor substantially. Cutting the vegetables into a small dice quickens the time for cooking, and the pieces are the perfect size for eating. You need only to peel and cut the carrots and zucchini. And choose pre-peeled and cut butternut squash for ease in prep time. I always add a rind of Parmesan cheese to any vegetable-based soup to kick up the flavor.

I like to take a few cups of the soup, puree it and then add it back to the soup pot. It offers a lovely way to thicken the soup without adding extra starch. The only caveat to this is you should not add any pasta or grain until after you have pureed the 2 cups of soup. I think this is the best of both worlds: a perfect combination between a total puree and a thin soup texture. Garnish with a sprinkling of fresh herbs and fresh Parmesan cheese. You could add a dollop of favorite pesto, if desired. Serve this with slices of crusty French bread.

Four Vegetable Soup for soup season

Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 leeks, light green part and white parts only, cleaned and finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 4 zucchini, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 pound peeled and cut into 1-inch dice butternut squash
  • 1 teaspoon favorite seasoning salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • Rind of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or basil
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice, farro or pasta, optional
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or basil, for garnish


  1. In a 3-quart pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the carrots, zucchini, squash, and seasoning salt. Saute for about 3 more minutes, or until mixed well and beginning to soften. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes stirring to evenly blend it with the vegetables.
  2. Add the broth and Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Partially cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the garbanzo beans and cook another 3 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the Parmesan rind.
  3. Measure out 2 cups soup into a food processor or blender and puree. Return to the soup pot. Add the salt and pepper. Add the parsley or basil. (At this point you can add any cooked grain or pasta you desire and cook until just done.) Taste and adjust the seasonings. Remove the Parmesan rind.
  4. To serve Four Vegetable Soup, ladle into shallow bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese and herbs. Serve immediately.

Advance preparation for Four Vegetable Soup:

This soup may be prepared up to five days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Reheat gently. This may also be frozen. Defrost and reheat gently. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Related: Another perfect soup season soup

© 2021 Diane Rossen Worthington. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Diane Rossen Worthington

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at