This is a really easy slow cooker vegetable soup! Under 2 minutes’ prep time! This is one of my crockpot dump recipes. Food cheats is all about making cooking easy – not everybody likes cooking, not everybody’s got the time or space for fancy sessions in the kitchen – and sometimes you just want hot, tasty, food on a plate or in a bowl with the least fuss. Others are in the middle of having their kitchen refitted, while some people want easy food in their holiday home – there are a ton of reasons why somebody’s not wishing to be a Domestic Goddess, so don’t knock it! In the spirit of making things super easy, today’s delight brings together the double joy of ready prepared vegetables and a slow cooker.
I hadn’t intended to make any vegetable soup, but I was browsing the shelves of the local supermarket and saw they had a bag of ready prepared casserole vegetables reduced to half price. Now, I know that even at half price it doesn’t compare, cost-wise, with buying the individual/raw vegetables and cutting them up myself – but, living alone, these bags simply deliver a great balanced mix. So, I bought them on a whim. I love soup, but I don’t eat it that often at home – not really sure why, it just works out like that. You can’t eat everything you like or you’d just be HUGE! 🙂
You can ignore the word “casserole” – what you have is a bag of vegetables, ready prepared, nothing more, nothing less. You can do with them whatever you’d have done with vegetables you cut up yourself. To bag them and call them casserole vegetables is more about marketing and an indication of the contents. A casserole mix will indicate that it’s going to be root vegetables.
This particular bag contained:
- mini potatoes,
- red onions.
So, I had in mind that I’d just tip it into the slow cooker and make some vegetable soup.
Living alone and cooking for one, the slow cooker I chose was a 3.5 litre model. This is large enough to contain ingredients for most meals without over-burdening me with food overload! Any smaller than 3.5 litres and you’d have trouble fitting in, say, 500grams of mince and the other ingredients to make a chilli!
But I didn’t really want to put too much effort into it! It’s bad enough knowing I’ll have to wait about 6 hours before I can eat it. So, here’s the food cheats Easy Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup:
- 1 pack of ready-prepared mixed root vegetables (or, you can chop your own!). ~700 grams
- 1 tin of plum tomatoes (~400 grams)
- 2 vegetable stock cubes (any stock cubes or even a stock pot or bouillon will do)
- 1 tin of water (you measure it, you don’t buy it!)
- Remnants of a brown sauce jar I had kept*
- Open the packet and drop the whole lot into the slow cooker – at this point I also just cut up a few large carrots and potatoes into smaller pieces, this isn’t required, I just fancied doing that.
- Empty the contents of the can of tomatoes into the slow cooker (I’m funny about tomato tops, so I do take the time to remove each tiny piece of the stalk end!)
- Add the stock cubes
- Add about 1 can of water, hot water or cold, I just happened to have hot water
- Turn the slow cooker onto auto if you’ve one with that setting – or, turn the slow cooker onto High for one hour, then turn it down to low and leave it for 5-6 hours.
- Read below, “Vegetable Stew” as I whipped some of the veggies out at this point.
- Use a (cheap) hand blender to mash up any lumps until it’s just how you like it – or, more laboriously, just squidge at any lumps with a fork or potato masher – if you do use a fork or potato masher, make sure you remove the slow cooker pot from the casing first as you don’t want to be pressing your weight down on what would be the heating elements hidden under the slow cooker metal lining. Sometimes I leave it fairly chunky so I can choose the consistency when I reheat it, you can’t unmash the veg!
*I added in the remnants of a jar of brown sauce – when they get close to being empty there’s still a few spoonfuls in there, so I set them aside and will simply add a splash of water and give them a shake, then add them into the slow cooker. It’s part of my “waste not, want not” and “zero food waste” policy. It’s not required for this recipe, I just thought I’d mention it!
Soup is Too Thick: If your soup’s too thick for your liking, then simply add some boiling water and mix it through. You can do that to the whole lot in one go, or, if you’re storing the soup in the fridge until you want to serve individual portions, then you can add a splash of hot or cold water when you come to re-heat it.
At the point where the vegetables are cooked and the vegetables are still chunky, I like to serve a bowl at this point as vegetable stew – and, throw in a dumpling. I whipped up a Vegetable Stew With Quick Herby Dumpling using flour and olive oil to go with this! I then mashed down the remainder as my soup. One pot, two dishes!
Serve Soup With:
You don’t need me to tell you what to serve soup with! Any bread, bought or home made. Toast. Croutons. It’s just soup, I’m sure you can work out what to do with it now!
Storing Home Made Soup:
Decant the soup into a storage jug and place it in the fridge. I like to use my microwave soup mugs – as I can then use the same mug to microwave the soup later, or even throw them in the freezer if I don’t get round to eating it all. If you’re going to be serving yourself single portions of soup from what you’ve made, then it’s probably better to store it in a jug in the fridge as that makes it easier to pour out a portion for yourself.
Therefore, either portion the soup up, or keep the whole lot in a jug.
Q: How long will soup keep in the fridge?
A: I’d keep a simple vegetable soup in the fridge for 3-4 days. It’s just vegetables, nothing “dangerous” that might give you food poisoning.
Q: This recipe is without salt – doesn’t it taste bland?
A: I’ve always cooked without salt, I also don’t add salt to food at the table. Also – it includes stock cubes, which can be quite heavy on the salt, so there’s no need for extra. These days there’s more emphasis on people reducing salt intake. Personally, I can taste every individual vegetable when I cook; I will be able to taste this as fresh vegetable soup without salt. For those who simply can’t live without it, or feel food is “bland” without salt, then they are free to add as much as they like at the beginning or the end of cooking. I am not a “Salt Free” flag waver, I’ve simply been brought up not using it and if you like what you know there’s no need to change!
Q: My slow cooker doesn’t have a high setting – what can I do?
A: Put simply, on high things cook hotter, so twice as fast as low, I’ve written a post about this: High or Low?
Q: Can you freeze slow cooker vegetable soup?
A: Yes. You can freeze it once it’s cold, or after a few days when you realise you’re never going to get round to eating it all! A quick way of freezing it that’s easy is to have a roll of freezer bags and some old margarine tubs (lids not required). Line the margarine tub with a freezer bag, put a portion of soup inside the bag and seal it (knot it, or use plastic clips). Place the soup in the freezer and once it’s frozen (overnight or the next day’s fine), simply lift the bag out of the margarine tub and it’s a nice neatly shaped package to keep in the freezer. Label it if you don’t want to forget what you’ve got! You can defrost it in the fridge when you want to eat it, then re-heat it, or even re-heat it from frozen in a saucepan or microwave. It’s vegetables, nothing to kill you, all you need do is reheat it until it’s hot all the way through!
I bought the vegetables ready prepared, but at half price. If I’d paid full price they’d have cost £1.50. The tomatoes were Waitrose basics tomatoes (very thick tomato sauce, highly recommended) and I paid £0.25 for those some months ago as part of a 4-pack on a weekend offer. Stock cubes were probably about £0.10 (guessing/no idea, it’s very little) and I guess I should add in £0.10 for the swilling out of the sauce jar. Total cost is therefore, full price, £1.95 – and it’ll make 4-6 portions (depending which bowl I tip it into). I actually paid £1.20 as I bought the vegetables at a reduced price. If you peel/chop your own miscellaneous vegetables then the cost drops further, probably closer to £0.80 for everything!
Well, this is vegetables – some of it’s got to count! Yes, of the root vegetables, the carrots, swede, onions and leeks count. Also, the tin of tomatoes is a valid 5-a-day item. So, I must get some brownie points there for that I guess!