Also sometimes referred to as Tilghman Island Soup, this Easy Spicy Vegetable Soup has been a regular on our home menu lately. It is a great vegetable soup that is vegan and packs a nice spicy kick. The spicy kick comes from the secret ingredient…wanna know what it is?
Spicy Vegetable Soup – The Secret Ingredient
The secret ingredient in this easy spicy vegetable soup is Old Bay Seasoning. If you’re from Baltimore, Maryland or an eastern shore native then chances are you’re intimately familiar with Old Bay. But if not, you might be less familiar.
Old Bay is a popular blend of herbs and spices that most consider a must when enjoying Maryland Blue Crabs. It is popular in the Chesapeake Bay area where it was reportedly developed by German immigrant Gustav Brunn in 1939.
Now, locals might not be able to tell you about its history or even what’s in it, but they’ll likely be ready to fight you if you serve crabs without it. It would be like serving up a hamburger without at least offering up ketchup. Rude! Some things just to together.
If you do take a glance at the side of an Old Bay container you’ll notice the ingredients include things like mustard, paprika, celery salt, bay leaf, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, nutmeg, cardamom…and on…and on. Lots of great flavors! But if you tried to add them all separately…well…that could take a while. Why fool with all of that when you can just reach for the Old Bay?
So popular is Old Bay locally that you’ll find it served with other things as well. Head into a local grocery store and in the potato chip aisle you’ll often even find crab chips. I’m not sure quite sure whether the chips use actually Old Bay, but that’s the flavor they are going for. Personally, I love Old Bay seasoning on steamed shrimp. And on Tilghman Island, I guess they decided it belonged in soup. We’re glad they did as today’s spicy vegetable soup recipe is an adaption of a Tilghman Island Stew recipe from one of our Moosewood cookbooks.
You could also call this spicy vegetable soup “Use up all your produce soup” as that tends to be our strategy when making this soup. We just load it up with tons of fresh vegetables and whatever we need to use up to clear out our produce drawer. We just love recipes like this that are easily adaptable and allow you to work through lots of ingredients to create a great meal while also cutting down on waste by using ingredients that would spoil soon if not used.
We employ the use up what you’ve got strategy a lot when making things like our healthy quinoa taco salad, our vegan quinoa burrito bowls, our chicken shawarma bowls, and lots of our soups like our swiss chard lentil soup. These are all great recipes that easily take on extra ingredients. They’re great all-in-one-bowl meals which we’re also big fans of! 🙂
But the Old Bay seasoning is really what makes this soup sing! That’s where the spicy kick comes in. Which we like quite a bit. 🙂
As with eating blue crabs down at the shore, words to describe this soup fall short. Some things you just have to experience.
The Easy Spicy Vegetable Soup Recipe:
Easy Spicy Vegetable Soup
- 2 T . extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion , chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic , minced
- 3 carrots , peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks of celery , chopped
- 1 red pepper , chopped
- 1 medium zucchini , chopped
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1-2 T Old Bay seasoning
- 1 15 oz diced tomatoes
- 4-5 c vegetable broth/stock
- 1 c frozen green beans
- 1 sweet potato (medium size) , peeled and diced
- Heat oil in a large soup pot.
- Add onions and sweat for 4-5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add carrots and celery and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Add pepper and zucchini and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Add thyme and Old Bay and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and cook until starting to simmer.
- Turn down heat to low, cover soup, and cook until sweet potatoes are cooked for approximately 15 minutes.