Four homemade soups you can make in an hour or less (two vegetarian)

Growing up in Czech Republic, my husband ate soup almost daily. Though my family (in the USA) didn’t eat it that often, when I had it, it was a wonderful treat. My mom was very good at making soups, and made a wide variety, always from scratch. Some were to warm us up in the winter (like the ones below), others were to use summer produce.

During my 20 years with my husband, I have made a wide variety of soups, as well.  Some from the “moms”, some of my own. In this post, I would like to share some of the soups I make that can be on the table (start to finish) in an hour or less. Below find recipes for my French Onion Soup, “Cream” of Tomato Soup, Celery Soup, and also my mother-in-law’s Bohemian Potato Soup. The “Cream” of Tomato and Celery Soups are great options for vegetarians.

My French Onion Soup (approximately 6 servings)

French onion soup

  • 4 to 5 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • 1 large or 2 small bay leaves
  • 4 cups beef broth (see note below)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2-3 Tablespoons or more (to taste) of sherry wine
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste (see note below)
  • 2 cups herb or other appropriate croutons or 6 toasted baguette slices rubbed with olive oil and herbs (parsley and/or lovage, marjoram, or garlic)
  • 2 cups shredded or thin sliced Swiss or Gouda cheese (a high-quality grated Parmesan could also be used)

Peel, halve, and thinly slice yellow onions, and add to the butter just melted in a medium soup pot. Stir very frequently over medium high to medium heat until onions start softening (and reducing) and turning a pale golden color (about 10 mins). Turn heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a pale or almost medium brown color.

Add thyme, optional caraway seeds, and bay leaf to caramelized onion and stir for a minute or two. Add beef and chicken broths, stir then cover. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Uncover soup and add sherry wine, to taste. Stir in freshly ground pepper and either salt (or bouillon – see below), to taste. Remove bay leaf.

Soup can then be ladled into French onion soup bowls, topped with croutons and cheese, and broiled until cheese is golden brown. Or do as my mother did, and use regular bowls, top with croutons and cheese, and skip the broiling. The cheese will melt.

Note: If a darker and stronger or saltier broth is desired (after adding the sherry), one or two small beef bouillon cubes (or teaspoons of beef base paste) can be added to the pot, to taste.

My “Cream” of Tomato Soup (approximately 6 servings)

cream of tomato soup

  • 3 Tablespoons butter or olive oil (I prefer butter)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • ½ large carrot, peeled and finely grated
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 medium bay leaf
  • 4 cups canned peeled plum tomatoes (or San Marzanos), chopped with juice (I use Italian style with basil)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup extra tomato juice or water may be needed if using fresh tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried or 3 Tablespoons fresh herb(s) of choice (basil, parsley, lovage, marjoram)
  • 3 cups (or a little more) milk, as desired, whole or at least low fat. Some light cream can be added for an even richer soup.
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • White vinegar to taste (I usually add 1 or 2 teaspoons, and taste. More sugar or milk can be added, if needed)
  • Croutons and extra herbs for topping (optional)

Melt butter in medium-sized pot. Add chopped onion, and cook until softened over medium-low heat. Sprinkle flour over onion mixture and cook, stirring over medium-low heat, for 1 to 2 minutes until light golden colored. Add bay leaf, grated carrot, and chopped peeled plum tomatoes with can juice, and stir. Bring to a boil, and then simmer on low heat, covered, for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent tomatoes from sticking to pan. [A non-stick pot helps prevent this issue, or by adding a little more tomato juice or water occasionally.]  Remove from heat, and remove bay leaf.

hand blender
Hand-held puree blender

Add herb(s) and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes off heat. If you desire a smooth(er) soup, process in blender or food processor, or in the pot with a hand-held puree/blender wand. [I do this.] Stir in milk. Slowly heat until just under a simmer. Remove from heat and add sugar, salt and/or vinegar to taste. Put in bowls, and top with croutons and/or fresh herbs, if desired.

 Celery Soup (approximately 6 servings)

Soup in photo includes celery root and celery stalks
  • 3 Tablespoons butter or olive oil (I prefer butter)
  • 3 medium stalks chopped fresh celery and any greens (see note if you don’t have)
  • 1 cup celery root (celeriac), peeled and small chopped (see note if you don’t have)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp lovage root (optional) in tied cheese cloth, or 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley or lovage
  • 1 ½ cups milk (at least low fat) or light cream (see note)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Croutons and/or chopped celery greens (optional)

Melt butter in medium-sized pot. Add chopped celery, celery root (celeriac) and onion. Sauté over medium heat until vegetables begin to get golden brown on edges and soften a bit. Add broth of choice and lovage root (if you have it) or fresh parsley or lovage. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes off heat.  If lovage root was added, remove cheese cloth baggie and dispose of it. Puree the vegetable/stock mixture in pot with hand-held puree/blender wand, or puree in blender (in stages, if needed). With vegetable/stock mixture in pot, slowly add milk or light cream and reheat until under just under a simmer. Add optional salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls with optional croutons and/or chopped fresh celery greens.

Celery root (aka celeriac)

Note: I recommend using the combination of celery root (celeriac) and fresh celery stalks, but this soup can be made with only one or the other, if both aren’t available. Just double the amount of the one you have. If using celery root (with or without fresh celery stalks), the soup will be thicker than using only fresh celery stalks, allowing regular milk to work well. If using only fresh celery stalks, light cream is recommended.

Bohemian Potato Soup (6 servings)


  • 3 Tablespoons butter or olive oil (butter is preferred)
  • 1 small to medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small parsnip or parsley root, peeled and chopped
  • Celery root (celeriac), peeled and chopped, OR, fresh celery stalks, chopped (same amount as carrot)
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 liter (4.25 cups) of water
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (sugar-cube sized)
  • 225 grams (8 oz) of fresh mushrooms, sliced (I recommend a medley of wild mushrooms or cremini/baby bellas, or an equivalent amount of reconstituted dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram or about 1 Tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seed
  • Small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 small beef bouillon cubes (1 large) or 2 teaspoons beef base paste
  • Extra fresh parsley to garnish (optional)

Sauté chopped onion, carrot, parsnip (or parsley root) and celery root (or celery) in butter. Brown slightly. Add flour; keep stirring until all of the flour blends in with the vegetables, about 1-2 minutes.

Add water and potatoes; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add sliced mushrooms, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables and potatoes are done, about 20 minutes. Add beef bouillon, marjoram, caraway seed, and half of the chopped parsley, and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Put in bowls, and sprinkle with some of the remaining fresh parsley.

8 thoughts on “Four homemade soups you can make in an hour or less (two vegetarian)

  1. Nel December 15, 2017 / 12:37 am

    Mmmm soup! I love soup!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jacquelineobyikocha December 15, 2017 / 1:16 am

    I love soup. They are light, nutritious and filling. You inspired me to warm up my leftover chicken noodle soup 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight December 15, 2017 / 2:01 pm

      Hi jacqueline! I hope you enjoyed your chicken noodle soup! I know that definitely ranks as one of most people’s favorite.


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