Traditional Belgian Vegetable Soup

Filed Under Bart's Kitchen on April 9, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Traditional Belgian Vegetable SoupI think every Belgian mother and Grand Mother makes a version of this soup – all very similar, and yet all slightly different. This is my own take on it, which is a hybrid of my Mum’s version and her mother’s version.

Lets start with a list of ingredients:

  • Three medium-sized Onions
  • Three medium-sized Potatoes (accidentally omitted from the photo below, sorry!)
  • 2 medium-sized carrots
  • 2 Sticks of Celery
  • 1 big Leek
  • 1 Litre of vegetable stock
  • 1 to 2 Litres of water
  • Parsley & Chives (preferably fresh, but dried is OK)
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • Vegetable Oil

The Ingredients

Because this soup will not be blended at the end, it is important to chop all the ingredients finely. Start with the onions, and start them frying in some vegetable oil in the bottom of a large pot on a medium heat.

Finely Chop and Fry the Onions

While the onions are softening, chop the potatoes, carrots, celery sticks, and leek. I like to quarter the carrots lengthways before slicing them into thin slices. With the celery I also like to cut it into 3 or 4 strips lengthways before slicing.

Finely Chop The Rest of the Veg

Also while the onions are softening, prepare the vegetable stock, and boil a kettle of water. When the onions are soft, add the rest of the now chopped vegetables, the stock, and 1 litre of boiling water. Turn up the heat and bring the whole lot to the boil remembering to stir occasionally.

Add Stock, Water &Chopped Veg and Boil

It will take at least 30 minutes of gentle boiling to cook the soup. When it’s ready, the vegetables should be thoroughly soft, and should melt in your mouth. Depending on how thick you like your soup, add some or all of the last litre of water at this stage, or even a little more if you want.

Boil till the Veg is soft, at least 30 min

When you’re happy with the consistency of the soup, then it’s time to season it. Add salt and black pepper to taste, as well as about two table spoons each of parsley and chives. Remember, you have between 3 and 4 litres of soup here, so it will take a lot of seasoning.

Traditional Belgian Vegetable Soup

As I mentioned at the start, there are many variants of this soup. My grandmother always adds some of the smallest alphabet spaghetti I’ve ever seen, as well as some small marble-sized meatballs if she’s making the soup for a festive occasion. Some people add rice rather than spaghetti, and my mother likes to add some Tomato Puree to turn it into Tomato & Vegetable soup. Finally, you can also add a can of your favourite beans to make the soup more filling. Black eye beans look nice in the soup, but really, and bean should work.


8 Responses to “Traditional Belgian Vegetable Soup”

  1. Linda on April 18th, 2011 11:45 pm

    Bart, this sounds like a really delicious soup, and even better because you’re sharing your family’s favorites with us.

    Your descriptions and photos are getting better and better!

    There are a lot of spring vegetable soup recipes available online now — try Taste Of Beiruit dot com and search on spring veg soup for another variation shared with me by a friend of Al’s. Delish.

  2. Nicole on October 19th, 2011 2:38 am

    Ohhhhh, My mother (Simone Cooreman)came from Flanders near Geraadsbergen and my grandmother always had this soup on her farmhouse stove. She put little stars in hers and meatballs sometimes. Then on hot days, we had bowls of sweetened buttermilk from the cellar. Rice pudding always and croquette potatoes if I was very good! What days! thank you…I shall make this!

  3. Bart B on October 19th, 2011 11:08 am

    Hi Nicole,

    Thanks so much for your lovely memories – my Grandmother doesn’t do the sweetened buttermilk thing, but her rice pudding and home made croquette potatoes are just wonderful :)

    Hope you have fun with the recipe!


  4. James on December 9th, 2011 4:20 am

    I used this recipe last night. I am generally a lousy cook but following your directions I was able to make an awesome soup! I added both black beans and red beans though and didnt cook the vegatables down as much. I like them with a little more texture. Thank you for this recipe!


  5. Bart B on December 9th, 2011 10:25 am

    Thanks for the feedback James – glad to hear you had a good experience with it!


  6. Andrew on September 28th, 2012 4:08 pm


    I just have to say a huge thank you for putting this recipe on the internet. I went to Belgium and visited family over there years ago and had my aunties version. Its true every Belgian mother has their own version of this soup.

    Anyway I have been trying to get the recipe off her ever since (only about 4 years). I found this recipe through a google search about 6 months ago and have probably been back here at least 10 times to remake it. Always have some stored in the freezer, I love it!

  7. Ryan on October 11th, 2012 11:00 pm

    How long does it take to ready things up? And how long does it take to cook?

    How much bowls can this fill?

    Thanks! Hopping a reply.

  8. Yalini on January 10th, 2013 9:33 am

    I really love Belgian soup and this looks like a great recipe for me to make in UK – there’s a more Green soup too – do you know what they use for that?

    Thanks so much.

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