Pure vegetable soup is so simple yet satisfying. What’s more, there’s no chicken stock but made with some good French salted butter. It’s chunky, healthy, low in calories and the flavour is divine – as long as you use extra fresh seasonal vegetables.

Pure Vegetable Soup

Moreover, this isn’t a recipe I’ve developed myself. Apart from a few different vegetables, there’s no need to change anything from Raymond Blanc’s original recipe in my favourite cookbook, “Mange“. When I first received a signed copy of it as our engagement present in 1996, I was secretly terrified at French cuisine: the French gourmet recipes for guests all looked complicated. Surely it was too difficult for me to try?

Years later, however, I realised with a little bit of confidence, the gourmet French recipes were much easier than they looked – and this pure vegetable soup can’t be any easier!

Pure Vegetable Soup

Chunky Vegetable Soup

These days, I normally blend soups to a smooth velouté or chowder consistency (see all my soup recipes). So serving this soup to the family as chunky seems almost D-A-R-I-N-G. Is this perhaps life in the fast lane?

I served this to my French (Corsican) parents-in-law last week, as they’re total soup addicts like myself. Madeleine gave it a confirmed nod of approval, but she seemed surprised.  They had soup with chunks in it growing up in Corsica. You know what? Me too! I remember the chunky Scotch Broth (Janice has a good recipe at Farmersgirl Kitchen) with lamb and good old Lentil Soup (Christina has another good recipe with barley at Christina’s Cucina) with a large ham shank, when I was growing up in Scotland.

Somehow, going back to the “bits in it” is somehow satisfying and, while not a thick, hearty soup, the freshness of the herbs makes this a welcome starter.

Low Calorie Vegetable Soup

What’s more it’s healthy and low in fat at only 55 calories a bowl. That’s before we add ripped off hunks of crispy French baguettes and lightly salted Normandy butter.

Pure Vegetable Soup

Fresh Vegetable Soup without Stock

There are two secrets to this recipe: 1) using the freshest of vegetables and 2) respecting the short cooking time of just 15 minutes.

I know it’s tempting to use up these veggies at the bottom of the fridge that may be starting to wilt – but please don’t! Gone are the days I made veggie soup with the sorry leftovers. Make your pure vegetable soup fresh and vibrant. Fresh peas from the pod in summer? Use them. Peas are brilliant in this.

If you use extra fresh vegetables, there’s no need for any vegetable, chicken or beef stock. The butter gives that added French touch and brings out the taste of the fresh herbs. Just thrown in the freshly chopped herbs at the end of cooking to preserve their flavour and vitamins. Chervil is best if you can find it, otherwise flat-leafed parsley is good.

Pure Vegetable Soup
5 from 2 votes

Pure Vegetable Soup

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course : Soup
Cuisine : French, British
Servings : 6
Calories : 55kcal


A quick, chunky and healthy soup recipe that's perfect for any time of year, using the freshest seasonal vegetables and herbs


  • 20 g / 0.75oz Butter unsalted
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots finely sliced
  • 2 medium leeks outer leaves discarded, finely sliced
  • 1 small turnip (French navet) finely chopped into cubes
  • 2 ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh peas from the pod (if fresh in Spring - optional)
  • 1 litre / 1.75 pints water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper according to taste
  • bunch fresh parsley or chervil roughly chopped (stalks removed)


  • In a large pan, gently melt the butter over a medium heat (don't allow it to brown). Sweat the peeled onion, carrots, and leeks gently for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the water, the turnip, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, skimming off any impurities (foam) then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for up to 15 minutes until the vegetables are softened.  Add the tomatoes, peas (if using), and chopped fresh herbs, cooking for another minute. 


Inspired by Raymond Blanc's Fresh Vegetable Soup with Chervil recipe in his book, Mange. If you prefer your soups smooth, then liquidise with a hand blender or food processor.
As I personally don't like celery, I have replaced one stalk of it with an extra leek - and adapt the vegetables according to season. Fresh peas from the pod are delicious. You could also use vegetable or chicken stock in place of the water but I find it's not necessary when using the fresh herbs.

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From the kitchen

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Comments (10)

Still cold today. Soup made – delicious and enough for tomorrow too. Will make this again.

Glad you and Dad enjoyed it!

Recipe printed. Just what we need on this cold and miserable day. Simple is good for me.

So glad you’ll make this, Mum! Thanks for popping in here.

5 stars
Now this is the sort of cooking I wish more people in the US would pick up on! Quick, easy, nutritious, inexpensive and totally delicious! Why are they still buying CANS and mixes for soup? UGH. Most are so ridiculously high in sodium, may contain BPA from the cans and are simply not nutritious 🙁 Thanks for linking to my lentil soup, too, Jill.

We’ll try to share our simple, healthy recipes with those who will have them 🙂

Agreed. Totally with you, Christina. This is a real treat – and the fresher the ingredients, the more you can actually taste them and it’s bursting with vitamins too. And 15 minutes cooking time is absolute MAX.

It’s so cold here, I’m coming over for a bowl!!

That’s crazy for LA!