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Perfect fall vegetable soup {Sopa de vegetales para el otoño}

Fall is here.  Fall is here! In just one week we’ll be officially celebrating the goodness of another season. The best season. We are all excited, I know. Not because annoying amounts of pumpkin memes making the Internet rounds have secured their marketing target. Rather because the bounty of the fall harvest is irresistible. Everything we’ve been missing for a few months is front and center.

Standard fall food and dishes are begging to be cooked, enjoyed and shared. Normally, we’d wait for some kind of green light to dig into the kickoff batch– in our house, a pear dessert. When we make that dessert, it’s a sign that we’re ready. But  I got a different kind of green light this weekend. The weather was beyond perfect, lending to the first taste of fall’s crisp kiss on the cheeks. The temperature dipped into the high 50s. A little breeze over the weekend invited huggable walks. And we took advantage.

It also invited eagerness to make the best thing anyone could ever share with the purpose of expressing love and affection: a slow simmered vegetable soup replete with sensual aromas, subtle textures and a marriage of flavors that relax but brighten at the perfect time.

I made this soup a few weeks ago in prep for the NPR story. It was great then but a bit too soon. Now is the right time to enjoy the inescapable warmth it holds.


I tried a different technique this time and I loved it. Traditionally, I’d make this in the pressure cooker, but there’s something entirely seductive about nurturing the slowness of a carefully crafted vegetable soup. I wasn’t in any particular hurry this weekend. And with my beautiful cast iron collection, my musings in slow cooking will be a more welcome idea. Not a regular thing, but for weekend cooking when a slower pace of existence is exactly what we need for the pace of a hectic work week ahead.

Here’s to fall! Here’s to love! Here’s to good, clean and healthful living!

Make this and share with a neighbor. You’ll bless them.

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 chayote squash, quartered
  • 1 bulb garlic, skin on
  • 1 lb. celery
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 large Spanish onion, skin on big chunks
  • 1 bunch cilantro or parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


In large cast iron dutch oven or large casserole, heat olive oil. Add all vegetables and bay leaf and brown for 3-4 minutes, approximately. Add 6 cups water, salt and pepper. Stir well. Lower heat to low-medium, cover and let cook for 90 minutes to one hour, depending on your oven. Lower heat to simmer. Uncover and add cilantro or parsley. Stir and let herbs cook down. Using slotted spoon, remove garlic and onion. Remove skins from both and discard. Return onion and garlic to pot.

Serve with crusty bread. Serves 8.

*Chef’s notes: For a heartier version, add some chick peas for added depth. Mushrooms would be nice, too, but be aware it may darken color of stock. 

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