This Irish Vegetable Soup is hearty and healthy, and is typical of the soups served in cafés and restaurants all over Ireland.
If you love to eat soup anytime of year, then this is the best Irish vegetable soup recipe you’ll want to try. Made with carrots, celery and potatoes, it's loaded with nutritious vegetables.
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A Soup for All Seasons
Have you ever traveled to Ireland and enjoyed a bowl or two of this warming soup? Winter, spring, summer, or fall - this soup features on Irish restaurant and café menus all year round.
We seldom serve soup during the warm summer months in the United States, but in Ireland, soup is a favorite summertime lunch. Rain, hail or shine, you can always enjoy a bowl of good vegetable soup in Ireland.
Vegetable soup is usually served with a few slices of Irish brown bread and butter - the perfect lunch in my book.
Serve it with Irish salad sandwiches and you'll have a hearty Irish meal.
Ingredients for Vegetable Soup
Here's a quick list of ingredients you'll need for this delicious Irish soup. You'll find exact quantities in the recipe card at the end of this post, together with nutritional information and the calorie count.
- bouquet garni
- ground mace
- potato, chopped
- onion, peeled and finely diced
- carrots, peeled and chopped
- celery stalks chopped
- vegetable broth
- red lentils
- rice flour
- whole milk
- heavy whipping cream, divided for soup and garnish
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- chopped fresh parsley
This recipe uses butter to sweat the vegetables. Olive oil could be used if you prefer to decrease the amount of saturated fat in your diet.
Chopped onion adds lots of flavor to this soup. If you like a more intense aromatic flavor, then you can also add some minced garlic. However, garlic can easily overwhelm this Irish soup. I only recommend using one or two cloves of garlic should you choose to add it.
Any variety of potato will do. However, I don't bother peeling it, since the soup will ultimately be puréed.
A bouquet garni also adds delicious flavors to this hearty soup. A small bundle of parsley, thyme and bay leaves is tied together with a string and added to the soup while cooking. A few sprigs of rosemary can also be added to the bouquet garni. This herb bundle is removed prior to serving.
This soup relies on herbs rather than spices for its delicious taste.
I use red lentils to add extra protein and texture to this soup. Pearl barley could be substituted for this ingredient.
I use vegetable stock for this soup to make a vegetarian version. You can use chicken broth instead if you are not a vegetarian.
You will note I add a little ground rice flour to thicken this soup, rather than all-purpose flour. I like how the rice allows the flavors of the vegetables to shine.
Directions for Irish Style Vegetable Soup
The first step to making any good vegetable soup is to sweat the vegetables.
This entails coating them in melted butter and letting them cook in a soup pot. Keep the lid on the pot to help tenderize them and seal in their flavor before boiling them in the liquid.
Use a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the butter and let it melt in the bottom of the pot over medium heat.
Toss in the chopped potatoes, onion, carrots and celery and stir them around in the melted butter to coat them completely.
Place a tight fitting lid on the soup pot and lower the heat. Gently cook the vegetables for 8 minutes. Shake the pot from time to time to ensure the vegetables do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
Don't let the vegetables turn brown or burn, since this will change the flavor of the soup.
Next pour in the vegetable broth and red lentils. Add the bouquet garni and mace to the soup.
Bring the heat back to boiling point. Lower the heat and simmer the soup for 40 minutes. Remember, do not cook soup at a rolling boil, just a gentle simmer.
Once the vegetables are tender, turn off the heat and let the soup stand for a while.
Remove the bouquet garni and discard it.
Purée the soup using an immersion or hand blender or in batches in a liquidizer or food processor. I love using my stick blender for this task.
When the soup is completely smooth increase the heat to medium-high. Some like to purée half the soup and leave some of the vegetables to add texture to the soup. However, in Ireland this soup is usually served smooth.
Thicken the soup by adding the ground rice flour. Keep stirring the soup as it thickens.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the milk and half the cream and return to simmering point. Let it cool slightly before serving.
Use the rest of the cream as a garnish when you serve the soup in warmed bowls.
A sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley on top of the swirled cream makes a lovely presentation.
A little greated cheddar cheese is another delicious garnish for this soup. Croutons make an interesting option if you like to add a little crunch.
Here's the recipe card for your kitchen files. You can choose to print this soup recipe either with or without photos.
Irish Vegetable Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 bouquet garni
- 1 teaspoon ground mace
- 1 large potato washed and chopped
- 1 large onion vidalia or yellow onion
- 4 medium carrots peeled and chopped
- 3 celery stalks chopped
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup red lentils
- 2 tablespoons rice flour
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream divided for soup and garnish
- ⅓ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ⅓ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1 tablespoon parsley fresh and chopped
- Melt the butter in the bottom of a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped potatoes, onion, carrots and celery. Toss to coat in butter. Cover the pot and lower the heat. Cook the vegetables gently for 8 minutes. Shake occasionally so they do not stick or turn brown.
- Add the vegetable broth and red lentils to the pot. Add the bouquet garni and mace. Turn the heat up to bring the soup to boiling point. Lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Remove the bouquet garni. Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly. Purée the soup using an immersion blender or in batches in a liquidizer.
- When smooth return all of the soup to the pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground rice flour and stir to thicken the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Add the milk and half the cream. Stir and return to simmering point.
- Serve in warmed bowls and garnish with a swirl of cream and a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
I hope you enjoy this taste of Ireland. Here, are some of my other favorite Irish soups.
Thanks for following my recipes and ramblings.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade