Forget the can and make a childhood classic at home! This vegetarian alphabet soup recipe is easy to follow and definitely qualifies as comfort food!
Sometimes, life just falls into place in a funny way at the grocery store. One minute, you’re casually perusing the pasta aisle, and the next, you’re sprinting to the produce section to load up on fresh tomatoes because you *have* to make soup immediately. What happened, you ask? I spied a bag of alphabet pasta! How could I not get excited about alphabet pasta? Even though I actually wasn’t a fan of the canned alphabet soup as a kid, I do love fun pasta shapes, and we all know a homemade alphabet soup is going to be amazing.
I opted to make a vegetarian alphabet soup because I made this on a weekday, and I do not make the meatballs in our house. Also, I didn’t want anything to compete with alphabet pasta. I mean, it is the star of the soup, isn’t it? Actually, the amazing roasted tomatoes and garlic in the broth are probably the real stars. But I really like the fun pasta. Of course, if you don’t find alphabet pasta in your local grocery store, and don’t feel like ordering online, go ahead and substitute an orzo or other small pasta. You’ll still have tasty soup, and that’s the what’s important.
Actually, what’s probably more important is that by using fresh tomatoes and garlic, you’re loading your soup with lycopene and all sorts of other antioxidants and vitamins that you probably wouldn’t find in the canned stuff. Comfort dishes that might also help ward off whatever “bug” is flying around the office/school/neighborhood at any given time during cooler weather are good. Bonus points if you use homemade vegetable broth or bone broth.
I hope you enjoy this vegetarian alphabet soup recipe! I’m hoping to find some more pasta on my next grocery store trip to make another batch soon.
- 2 1/2 lbs fresh tomatoes Roma tomatoes or another super flavorful variety work well
- 20-25 garlic cloves about 2 heads
- 2 cups diced onion about 1 medium sweet onion
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 4-5 cups broth or stock Use vegetable stock to keep the dish vegetarian. If you aren't vegetarian, chicken or beef works as well.
- 1 lb alphabet letter pasta or substitute another small pasta like orzo
- 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- oregano and grated Parmesan cheese for topping optional
Preheat your oven to 400 F, then roughly dice the tomatoes. Toss with the garlic onion, 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread in a single layer onto an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and run through a food mill to remove tomato skin, seeds, and garlic skins. If you don't have a food mill, see notes for an alternative.
Melt the butter or warm the 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a stock pot. Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes. Then add the tomato puree, vegetable broth, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer 7-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente (check package instructions).
The soup will thicken slightly as it cools, and 4 cups of broth will result in a rather hearty soup. Feel free to add a bit more broth if you prefer a thinner soup. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from the heat and serve immediately topped with a bit of oregano and grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
I know a food mill might seem like a bit of a specialty item, but they are so worth it if you cook a lot! I finally broke down and bought one this year when I was making pasta sauce for canning. The one I linked to is the one I own and I find it works well for me and is easy to clean. Of course, if you don't want to invest in a food mill and don't have one, the other option is to pulse the roasted vegetables in a food processor a few times, then press through a fine mesh sieve using a spatula or wooden spoon to get your tomato garlic puree.