April 4, 2013

Turns out I DON'T know more than Jacques Pepin.

Friends! It's spring! Kind of. ARE YOU FEELING SPRINGY? Are you feeling like sampling the BOUNTY of veggie life that's becoming available? Are you feeling like getting lots of fresh air and exercise?

Or are you feeling like sitting under all of your blankies with copious amounts of chocolate and books and waiting until it's 75 degrees and time to go to a picnic by a beach? (yes.)

Well, nevermind all of that. I have soup, glorious soup, for you. Let me warn you right now. You will see this recipe and turn your nose up. You will think, 'THAT LOOKS VERY BORING and also, I bet it doesn't taste very good.'

You will think to yourself, 'oh my this recipe looks SO PLAIN that I MUST gussy it up a bit.'

You might even think of doing what I did when I first saw this recipe. I saw it and thought, "Jacques Pepin wants me to only add WATER as the soup base? Water is bland and has no flavor!"

I thought, "JACQUES IS WRONG. I will add chicken stock, NOT WATER."

I also thought, Jacques wants me to add butter? To my soup? HE KNOWS OF WHAT HE SPEAKS. (you don't add as much butter as I've shown. that was actually for our bread.)

This is Jacques Pepin, we're talking about, mind you. We have many of his cookbooks. Andrew worships at the shrine of Jacques, and we watch his show all the time. We spend way too much time wondering how we can crash his house and get him to cook for us.

DESPITE ALL OF THIS, I still thought I knew better than Jacques when it comes to making his veggie soup taste awesome.

So the first time I cooked his soup, I made it with chicken stock. MISTAKE MISTAKE MISTAKE.

Way too salty. Way, way, way. Andrew was like, "This soup would have been great, IF YOU HAD FOLLOWED THE RECIPE."

I was like, "$#@!&*%."

Do yourself a favor my lovelies.

Make the soup.


Add the smidge of butter at the end.

YOU WILL LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! My kid loved it so much she ate two bowls at one sitting and then asked to have it in her lunchbox the next day.

It is DELIGHTFUL. And springy. And tasty. And healthy. (yes, even the butter and sprinkle of cheese.)

The smidge of butter at the very end adds this silky texture to the soup, OH MY STARS, I can't tell you how pleasing and lovely. Here you go. USE WATER.

Jacques Pepin's Instant Vegetable Soup  (via 'Fast Food My Way')

"It couldn't be easier or faster to prepare this soup. Gloria (his wife) calls it 'fridge soup', because I make it with whatever leftover vegetables I have in the refrigerator. In the time it takes to bring the water to a boil, I can usually shred the vegetables for soup. I use a large-holed side of a box grater.

Instead of using the vegetables here, I have also made this soup with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, and potatoes. I like to thicken it with a starch and sometimes add angel hair pasta, semolina, oatmeal, yellow cornmeal, or tapioca instead. Experiment ~ it will become your soup. A dash of butter or oil is a nice finishing touch, with some shredded Gruyere added at the table. When I was a child, my mother used to add cold milk to our soup, and I still love it that way."


5 cups water (for the love of heaven, use the water!)
1 and 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (about half a zucchini)
1 cup shredded carrot (about 1 carrot)
1 cup shredded onion (1 medium onion)
1 cup shredded white button mushrooms (2-4 mushrooms)
1/3 cup minced scallions (about 3 scallions)
2 cups loosely packed chopped salad greens
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons instant grits (I used cornmeal)
About 4 teaspoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1 cup shredded Swiss Gruyere cheese (I used leftover grated Parmesan) 


Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add all of the vegetables to the boiling water along with the salt. Bring the soup back to a boil and boil, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle the grits on top of the soup, reduce the heat to low, and cook gently for 2-3 minutes longer. (You will have about 6 cups.)

Serve hot in soup bowls, spooning 1 teaspoon of the olive oil or butter on each serving and topping each of the bowls with a few generous tablespoonfuls of the cheese.

~ 4 servings. (we had leftovers)

We had this with some dinner rolls and some double cream Gouda cheese, and it was one of the nicest dinners we've had in a long while!    


  1. Sounds yummy! Any recipe where kids ask for seconds has to be a winner. Must give it a go. I've never heard of instant grits, so thanks for including cornmeal in brackets :)

  2. I so want to make this soup! I love veggie soup but it's a real challenge to cook something that would please my boy. He is such a picky eater, especially when veggies and fruits are concerned! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. It's worth a try ~ I was worried Julia would not be into it, but man, was she ever :)

  3. Mmmm, sounds delicious! I'd have to exchange the mushrooms for something else, which makes me sad because I love mushrooms. And I'm the only one in my family who does. Sigh.

  4. Oh yum! This sounds divine... must try.

    1. It's so light and lovely. We just adored it :)

  5. Yum! Thanks for sharing doll!

    1. Always my pleasure! You know it's just a matter of time before I turn into a fulltime food blogger....:)

  6. Jacques Pepin is the MASTER CHEF! You can TRUST his recipes!!! He, probably, has more cooking/baking knowledge in his little finger than most of us in our head. He has been cooking since he was in his teens! Both his parents were in the restaurant business. He was raised in France. Please check out his bio.

    1. Oh I know! Really I do! I had a moment of insanity. Not sure what I was thinking....:) Turned out all right in the end, I made the soup the way he said to do it, and it turned out fabulous!

  7. What do you reckon might be a good substitute for grits/cornmeal if we have a corn sensitivity?