Vegetable Beef Soup Like Great-Grandma Vera Mae's

April 18, 2021
17 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Vegetable beef soup is one of those recipes that reminds me of my Midwest roots and takes me back to childhood, when I stood beside my great grandmother in the kitchen, watching her make something out of nothing.

Whenever it started to cool down in Kansas City, Great-Grandma Vera Mae would pull out her heavy-duty pot and make a hearty vegetable beef soup. It was one of those soups that ate like a whole meal. It had tons of vegetables simmered down in an herby tomato broth with thick chunks of ground beef.

As a kid, I remember despising the lima beans in the soup and picking them out to get to the meat and potatoes, then hiding them in my paper towel. I think she knew what I was doing all along, but let me get away with it.

To make my own version of this soul-warming soup, I use chuck roast. The recipe, however, is very forgiving, so you can also use ground beef, stew meat, or double-down on the veggies. Likewise, you can use red or yellow potatoes instead of Russet, and frozen lima beans and okra instead of green beans and peas.

I start by seasoning, flouring, and browning the beef. The flour gives the broth a little more body. If needed, cook your beef in batches—make sure not to overcrowd the pot, otherwise your beef will steam and turn grey.

Once the beef is browned (not completely cooked), remove it from the pan and add in your denser stalk and root vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes, since they take longer to break down. Because they will be cooking for a while, you want to cut these vegetables thickly so they don’t turn into mush. When they start to get some color, I add back the beef along with canned tomatoes, seasonings, and broth, and let everything cook down.

Once the meat is tender, I toss in frozen vegetables. I use individually packaged green beans, peas, and corn, but you can also use mixed vegetables. These only need 10 minutes to heat up before I’m cozying up to my own hearty bowl of vegetable beef soup. Each bite of tender beef and brothy veg takes me back to that curious little girl watching her great grandmother make magic in the kitchen.

Helpful tools for this recipe:
- Le Creuset Dutch Oven
- Five Two Wooden Spoons
- Blue Porcelain Soup Bowls

Meiko And The Dish

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound Russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, thickly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Creole (or all-purpose) seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 5 cups unsalted or low-sodium beef broth
  • 3/4 cup frozen green beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  1. Season the meat with 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the pepper, and the flour.
  2. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil and just enough meat to form a single layer. If needed, brown the meat in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pot. Cook, flipping as needed, for 3 to 4 minutes, until browned on all sides. Use a slotted spoon to remove meat from the pot and transfer to a plate. Repeat this process until all the meat is browned.
  3. Add the potatoes, carrots, onion, and celery, and cook, still over medium, until the onions are translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add all the beef back to the pot, along with the canned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Creole seasoning, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, and beef broth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any dark bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cover and simmer for about 75 minutes, until the beef is tender.
  5. Stir in the green beans, peas, and corn and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the bay leaf, then taste the soup. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • pattyposy
  • Tulip01
  • Theresa Camburn
    Theresa Camburn
  • j9wardo
Meiko is corporate America retiree turned full-time foodie and host. Besides her obvious love of cooking she obsessed with designing foodie apparel, celebrity gossip sites and hosting elaborate dining experiences. She shares her recipes, kitchen hacks and entertaining tips on the blog Check it out!

7 Reviews

pattyposy March 9, 2023
A delicious first try! Tomorrow's dinner is ready! Added fennel and may adjust other spices and herbs. The frozen peas and corn worked well; I don't use frozen beans; tossed in some fresh. Need to pre cook! Won't be able to test how well this freezes...will need to prepare batch #2.
Tulip01 February 7, 2023
Halved the recipe since this was for 2 peeps. Added spices & a dash more, less salt. Googled creole seasoning substitute. Saved time by using my dicing tool for all the veggies. Last 10 minutes added canned corn & green beans (drained.) I feel the scrapping of the bottom bits really added to the flavoring. I thought I had ruined it until I read about the scrapping. Thanks for that bit of detail. Served with foil wrapped warmed French bread. This is a wonderful & tasty recipe.
Thank you for sharing.
Theresa C. February 6, 2023
This was wonderful. I added fresh mushrooms and they were a nice addition. It tasted like “home”. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
j9wardo February 1, 2023
Ok, this is a top notch recipe! Super easy, basic ingredients — except the creole seasoning, which brings the magic! The Lea & Perrins is also a flavor hero. Love. This. Soup!
aellis9923 January 18, 2023
This is the real deal! I I doubled the tomatoes, used a large onion and a little more garlic . i added some frozen okra and a teaspoon and an half of sugar (Old school) Amazing! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.
Shari January 3, 2022
This is an easy, tasty beef and vegetable soup that doesn't take a lot of time if you already have beef broth made, which I did. Like the previous reviewer, I did add a place of alcohol (in my case, dry sherry) to help pull the yummy stuck parts off of the bottom of the pan after cooking the vegetables. The soup made a light, warming lunch served with a salad and corn bread muffins. I will make the soup again I am sure.
Glenna December 2, 2021
I actually made this recipe into stew rather than vegetable beef soup. I used 2# of stew beef and lots of veggies. Pretty much followed the recipe other than that.
It was superb!! Oh, did a a few splashes of red wine, a Montepulchiano, but any kind of good red would do the trick!