Rainbow Vegetable Soup Recipe

Cup of vegetable soup
B. Sporrer/J.Skowronek/Getty Images
Total Time: 60 min
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Servings: 11 (1 cup each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

72 calories
4g fat
9g carbs
3g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 11 (1 cup each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 570mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 4g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 3g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 58mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 355mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

You may have heard nutritionists say, "eat the rainbow," and this soup is a great way to do just that. In fact, that's what makes rainbow soup unique—while it is generally challenging to eat all of the colors of fruits and vegetables at one meal, rainbow soup makes it possible. Rainbow vegetable soup has vegetables from all the color groups: red, orange/yellow, white/brown, green, and blue/purple, a good indication that it is filled with lots of beneficial phytochemicals and micronutrients.

The soup is very versatile and forgiving; it is easily modified to include different vegetables you have on hand and can even be made without the canned tomatoes for a lighter broth based soup, or conversely turned into more of a hearty stew with less stock and more tomatoes and beans or grains. This is a great recipe to make in large batches since leftovers will also freeze well. It is also completely vegan and free of the most common food allergies.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thin (1/4 cup sliced)
  • 1 leek, white and light green part only, halved and sliced thin (1/2 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (1/2 cup diced)
  • 1 small bulb fennel, quartered, core removed and diced (1/2 cup diced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups diced peeled rainbow carrots, including purple carrots
  • 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper (about 1.5 cups diced)
  • 2 cups diced summer squash
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 small bunch parsley (leaves chopped and stems reserved, tied together with kitchen twine)
  •  2 cups diced canned tomatoes, no salt added
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chopped leafy greens (kale or spinach)
  • Optional: 1.5 cups unsalted chickpeas
  • Black pepper to taste


  1. Add olive oil to large soup or stock pot and turn heat to medium low. Add onion, garlic, leek, celery and fennel and salt, stir to combine and sweat over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir as necessary to prevent from browning.

  2. Add carrots and bell pepper and cook for another 2 minutes or until they to start to soften. Add summer squash and stir to combine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

  3. Add bay leaves, oregano, parsley stems, tomatoes and stock, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add greens, and beans if using, and simmer for another 5 minutes or until greens are tender. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed.

  4. Remove parsley stems and bay leaves, divide soup into bowls when ready to serve and garnish with chopped parsley leaves.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Add a mix of legumes such as white beans, pinto beans, or lentils for more protein and fiber. These can be added in addition to the chickpeas listed in the recipe or used in place of them.
  • Add whole grains for more carbohydrates, fiber, and micronutrients which turn a light soup into a balanced main meal. You can even add tiny pasta such as ditalini or elbow macaroni similar to a minestrone style soup.
  • Make it seasonal by using different seasonal vegetables and herbs. For example, you can use fresh basil in the summer time which pairs well with summer squash; then substitute the summer squash with winter squash or potatoes in the Fall/Winter and swap out the basil with a heartier herb like thyme or rosemary.


  • Try not to bring the soup to a high rolling boil since this can cause the vegetables to overcook; instead keep at a gentle simmer.
  • Vegetable prep can easily be done in advance, kept in the refrigerator and then is ready to go when you are ready to cook, cutting down on total recipe time.
  • Save the dark green tops of the leeks, the carrot peels, onion peels, any trim from chopping the celery and fennel and simmer together in a pot of water for a homemade vegetable stock.

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