Fresh From Nancy's Garden

A Fun Place For Gardening Tips and Great Recipes

Dining Al Fresco–Spring Vegetable Soup With A Lemon Twist

Springtime. Longer days, warmer evenings and a good bowl of….soup? You might think this sounds crazy, but when the first spring vegetables are ready to pick, this soup is a refreshingly light supper you can enjoy on your front porch, your deck or in your garden.

I confess, I love the vegetable soup at Zinc Cafe. Did you know they list the ingredients from all their dishes on their website? No measurements, but we all know I don’t measure. Here’s a link if you’d like to check it out.

This recipe was inspired by Zinc but I added a few touches of my own–you can do the same. Have a favorite vegetable that’s not on my list? No problem. Add and subtract as you like. Sometimes I’ll throw in pasta shells or tortellini if I want a hearty meal. Have kids? Add alphabet pasta and they’ll have fun eating their veggies.

And for my vegan friends like Janine,, use veggie broth, omit the cheese and you’ve got a great meal, too! 

(I actually measured for you)
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onion (white and green parts)
  • 1 cup chopped leeks
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped Yukon gold potatoes (not peeled)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup green beans cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes if you don’t have fresh from your garden
  • 64 oz. organic chicken broth
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 15 oz. pinto beans or cannellini beans–your choice
  • 1/4 cup fresh pea pods, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1-2 TBS chopped parsley
  • 1 TBS chopped thyme
  • 1/2 fresh lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 oz Parmesan cheese rind
  • Parmesan cheese to garnish

Cut vegetables in advance so everything is ready and you can add to soup as needed. 

Keep them all bite-sized so they’re easy to eat. 

Heat oil in large stock pot and add chopped garlic. Cook on medium high for 1 minute. Add leeks and onions and cook 2 minutes.

Add celery and cook 2 minutes on medium heat. Add carrots and potatoes and season with a little Kosher salt and pepper.

Add tomatoes and chicken broth. Stir, add Parmesan rind and bring to a boil over medium heat, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender.

Add pinto (or cannellini) beans, zucchini, green beans and peas. Simmer 5 minutes.

Add spinach, parsley and thyme. Simmer on low for 5 minutes. 

Taste and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if you want a little kick. 

To serve, ladle into a wide soup bowl, finish with freshly grated Parmesan and squeeze just a bit of lemon on top. 
This is a tasty way to enjoy your fresh spring veggies with friends and family. Add a glass of Prosecco and crusty bread for dipping and you’ve got the perfect evening meal that is best enjoyed al fresco!

You can always read this first at and if you want to see some of my earlier recipes check out my blog at

And thank you to my readers all over the world–58 countries and counting. I appreciate your emails and suggestions. The latest request–good recipes for those on the paleo diet. I’m working on it, Cathy!

Categories: Soups & Salads

Tags: , , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. This look amazing as usual. Fresh, simple to make and so good for you! Thanks for the veganese tweak, too!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.