Last updated on May 15th, 2023
This easy recipe for vegetable beef soup is a great way to use up leftovers. The tomato-based broth is loaded with vegetables.
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I love recipes that will allow by to clean out my refrigerator by using up leftovers. Last week we had a cold spell and I was thankful I had pot roast on the menu. This week, I transformed the leftover roast, carrots, and potatoes into a comforting vegetable beef soup.
This recipe is a favorite from The Husband’s side of the family. I imagine it came about as a low-cost way for The Husband’s grandmother to feed her four children. It’s pretty versatile in that you can make the base and then add pretty much anything else you want — brown rice from last week’s stir fry, green beans from Monday’s night’s dinner. It’s total comfort food at its most basic level.
Vegetable Beef Soup – What You’ll Need
First, let’s talk protein. You have a couple options, but whatever you choose, it needs to be cooked first. I prefer to use leftover roast because it’s already ready to go. But you could also purchase a small chuck roast (around one pound or so) and cook it specifically for this recipe. If you have an Instant Pot, you can accomplish this typically within 90 minutes. Then just let it cool enough that you can shred it.
Another option, if you just don’t have time or access to a cooked pot roast, is ground beef. Cook one pound of ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Break up the beef into smaller pieces with a spoon and cook until it’s no longer pink. Drain all the grease from the meat.
As I mentioned, you’ll need a few core ingredients for the soup base. Start with four cups of tomato juice and four cups of chicken stock. I also like to add in one small, chopped onion, one stalk of diced celery and two cloves of minced garlic.
Now for the add ins. I include 5-6 small-to-medium red or yellow new potatoes. I prefer using new potatoes versus a Russet or baking potato because one, I don’t have to peel them. Two, they hold up better texture-wise during cooking. Bring the soup base to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, then simmer for 40 minutes.
Finally, I add one (15-ounce) can of lima beans, one (15-ounce) can of black-eyed peas, your cooked roast or hamburger meat and one (12-ounce) bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Simmer until the soup is heated through, about 10 more minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. I like to serve this with a batch of Homemade Skillet Cornbread.
How to Store Leftovers
For my family of four, I can usually get two meals out of one pot of soup. Allow the leftover soup to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container with a lid. Consume the leftover soup within four days.
Once you’ve added the potatoes, I do not recommend freezing this soup. It changes the texture of the potatoes. They will go from firm to mushy and grainy. If you are making this soup with the intention of freezing it for later, leave the potatoes out. Transfer the cooled soup to a freezer-safe container with a lid. It will last in the freezer for three months.
Allow the soup the thaw completely, then simmer over low heat until it’s heated through. Cook the potatoes separately and add them in before serving. Trying to cook the potatoes with the soup can cause the rest of your vegetables to become overcooked.
If you are a home canner, this soup cans beautifully! You will need a pressure canner; a water bath canner will not reach the recommended temperature that kills off any botulism spores which cause food spoilage. I store my soup in quart jars with one-inch of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and seal with clean lids and rings. I can my soup for 90 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. However, I would consult the user’s manual that came with your canner.
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Vegetable Beef Soup
- 4 cups tomato juice
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 small onion chopped (about 1 cup)
- 5 small-to-medium red or yellow new potatoes cubed
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 1 (15 ounce can) lima beans
- 1 (15 ounce can) black-eyed peas
- 1 ½ – 2 cups cooked pot roast or ground beef
- 1 (12 ounce bag) frozen mixed vegetables
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine tomato juice and chicken broth in a large stockpot over medium high heat.
- Add onions, potato, celery and garlic. Bring to a boil.
- Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Add lima beans, black-eyed peas, roast and frozen mixed vegetables. Simmer until heated through, about 10 more minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.