Spring soup

March 26, 2011  •  Category:


I lived in Aix-en-Provence for six months after finishing up high school; Aix is a beautiful town in the South of France filled with picturesque courtyards outfitted with ancient fountains and majestic old mansions. I was supposed to be studying political sciences at the university, but I found the courses too depressing and spent my time roaming around the city’s cobblestone streets, eating succès (little cakes made of a hazelnut-flavored meringue and buttercream) and checking out the open-air marchés. I had a really cool neighbor, Anna, who was from Finland and in Aix to study French. (I reconnected with her thirty years later on Facebook).

Well, all of that to say that our landlady was a wonderful person who would leave me small plates of food (she probably thought I was starving) every day on the console by the front door. Among my  favorite of her offerings was her velouté de légumes, a creamy potage of spring vegetables, as humble as can be, that I would just inhale.

It is Spring and so  fitting to make a soup with just spring vegetables, simple and honest and comforting.


  • 1 large onion or 2 stalks of leeks
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 turnips
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 red pepper or 1/2 cup of red pepper paste
  • 1 sprig of parsley, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 4 cups of chicken stock or 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 bunch of broccoli
  • olive oil as needed


  1. Clean, peel, dice all the veggies.
  2. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a big soup pot; add all the vegetables and stir every few minutes until they are softened.
  3. Add a quart of chicken stock or water and the two cubes, the sprig of parsley, garlic, and other herbs (thyme, bay leaf). Bring to a simmer and let the soup simmer gently for one hour.
  4. Puree in a blender either till creamy or till chunky. Taste to adjust seasoning and serve.


33 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Christine @ Fresh says:

    I wish I had the opportunity that you did to live in such an awesome city of France. The people in the South of France are so kind, and this is a warm soup that symbolizes that generosity and spirit.

  2. meriem says:

    Ta soupe est très appétissante et bien colorée. Jaime beaucoup la photo avec ce pain de campagne à la française!

  3. Anita says:

    Don’t you just love how Facebook makes the world even smaller! Your vegetable soup looks amazingly delicious. I can almost taste it!

  4. Rosa says:

    Delicious looking! I’d love to have a taste…



  5. sophia says:

    For the death of me, I can’t imagine you starving!! Haha, why did the lady think you were hungry? But how absolutely sweet of her to leave you food and take care of you in her way…the soup must mean so much to you!

  6. Katerina says:

    Provence is a place I really want to visit someday! From the ingredients I know this soup would be a big hit among us!

  7. Cherine says:

    This soup looks amazing… yummy!

  8. Joyti says:

    What a wonderful experience, what a wonderful city…
    And your soup sounds delicious…such a gorgeous cross-over to spring.

  9. Joanne says:

    This is definitely a wonderful way to celebrate spring! you know, if it would get here any time soon!

  10. deana says:

    Gorgeous soup, Joumana… I’m doing a Provencal soup today… they are so good and warming with the bitter Spring weather we’re having. And the color… you were so lucky to have a landlady who was so generous.

  11. Min {Honest Vanilla} says:

    You’re absolutely right, this looks perfect for spring! All the ingredients are just fantastic 🙂

  12. Priya says:

    Inviting very catchy soup..

  13. Scienter says:

    I haven’t been to Aix-en-Provence, but France is my favorite country to visit! This soup looks wonderful. I’m always looking for new ways to use broccoli since my husband and I both love it.

  14. Steve @ HPD says:

    It’s been so unseasonably warm here, I was afraid it was time to put away the soup bowls until the fall. But you might have saved me with this one. Cheers!

  15. pierre says:

    j’adore Aix j’y vais souvent !!!

  16. meredith says:

    Your soup reminds me of an old neighbor of mine who used to share his food (and recipes) with me. He died a few years ago and I miss him.

  17. Simply Life says:

    oh this soup looks delicious and perfect for spring!

  18. Velva says:

    This is a beautiful Spring French soup. I can’t think of anything nicer than to have food waiting for you on your steps when you arrived home.


  19. bergamot says:

    The color of the soup is really refreshing. I looked up the ingredients and was wondering where are the spices/ herbs and realised that you added 1 tsp of thyme and I was kind of pleased thinking that I should try this out.

  20. Peter says:

    Spring is an odd time – some nights still cool and a soup is just right for keeping even this big guy warm/ I love the colour of this soup…pass the bread please!

  21. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Must have been a terrific experience to live in Aix-en-Provence! This soup sounds excellent!

  22. Jamie says:

    I wish my neighbors would leave me food! Lucky you! And this soup is fabulous and looks so rich and flavorful. Perfect for spring (and our post-winter diet!). Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  23. Nuts about food says:

    What lovely memories. This soup looks delicious its simplicity.

  24. Karen says:

    Such a lovely soup! It’s so nice to enjoy dishes with fresh spring vegetables after a long and cold winter. If I had studied in France, I would have definitely skipped classes in favor of eating my way through pastry shops! 🙂

  25. Maria @ Scandifoodie says:

    My brother lived in Aix for a few years before moving to another town near by just recently! This soup sounds amazing, I love all ingredients in it!

  26. Julie says:

    Quelle belle ville Aix-en-Provence, tu as eu de la chance de vivre là-bas 🙂
    Moi aussi j’ai des envies de soupe en ce moment, pourtant le beau temps est de retour !!

  27. mimi says:

    Beautiful soup, and great memories.

  28. FOODESSA says:

    As much as the soup looks great…you managed to get a hook into my sweet tooth with talk of the hazelnut meringue. Do you remember it enough to recreate it?

    Nice to get to know a little more of your global adventures Joumana…especially in the South of France ;o)

    Ciao for now,

    • Joumana says:

      @Claudia: the succés is a traditional cake in all pastry shops in France; what I love about it is the taste of praliné, a caramel tasting almond brittle (or hazelnut) that is incorporated into the meringue; I used to eat 6 of these little things every day instead of going to class and learning about political science.

  29. Citron says:

    What a lovely soup. On my list!

  30. Magic of Spice says:

    Aix is somewhere I have always wanted to go and I believe I have relatives there or near. This soup is so wonderful, very lovely in honor of Spring…

  31. paige says:

    How many does this serve?

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