No rules vegetable soup recipe

Here’s how to make a healthy vegetable soup. The ingredients are for leek, nettle and potato, but you can adapt this recipe for any vegetables that you fancy, or which you’ve grown in your own garden.

There are no rules in soup! Most importantly, if you want the kids to eat it too, get them to make it with you.

Suggested ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 3 leeks (about 1kg)
  • 4 stems of celery (leaf and all)
  • 1 onion 3 cloves garlic
  • 500ml water
  • 5 medium potatoes, cut into small chunks
  • Salt and white pepper
  • (Optional) Large bunch nettle tops (4 – 5 tender leaves)


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, onion, garlic, and butter and cook whilst stirring for three minutes. This is the point that you can add any diced vegetables you like – for example carrots, courgettes, pumpkins, beans.
  2. Add the potatoes and the water and cook for about thirty minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
  3. Throw in the washed nettle tops and liquidise in a blender. (Don’t worry if you don’t have one, you can simply press it through a sieve to get rid of lumps, or just call it ‘chunky soup’.)
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. If you want to be posh, add a spoon of crème fraiche to the middle of the bowl when you serve, or some cream, or some chopped parsley or chives. See? No rules.

Tips on gathering nettles

Stinging nettle has a flavour similar to spinach and is rich in vitamins and minerals – so it’s a tasty, healthy and unusual ingredient to add to your soup if you want to. The fun – and the dare – of picking them adds some interest to the activity if you’re doing it with kids.

When to pick nettles: Nettles are best harvested in early spring, after they’ve produced little green flower heads at the top of their plants.

Where to pick nettles: If you don’t have them in your garden look for wild nettles growing in ditches, forests and fields. Avoid those growing near roadsides, which may have absorbed exhaust and chemicals. Also, don’t harvest nettles on other people’s property without their permission.

How much to pick: Never take all of a nettle patch, but only what you can use. If you only find one plant, move on and find a larger patch.

Mother and child making soup

If you have a bumper crop of spinach, dry it and then freeze into portions. You can then add it to curry, stews and soups.

Maria - Seeds, Soup and Sarnies participant