Root Vegetable Soup

While this is a Fall/Winter season inspired soup, the bright flavors go well in every season. I began making this at 5:45 am, watching the sun slowly wake up over our western North Carolina mountains. It felt so right. Root vegetables alone are so comforting and the surprise of orange and balsamic will make your tastebuds dance!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Makes 8 cups


  • 3 Tbs. orange juice
  • 1 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 stalks collards or chard greens
  • 3 cups onions, diced
  • 3-4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 Tbls. minced fresh ginger or ginger paste
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes*, diced (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 large Japanese sweet potato (a regular sweet potato works, too)
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and diced medium size (2 ½ cups)
  • ½ large rutabaga**, peeled and diced medium size (2 cups)

*I don’t usually peel my potatoes, but feel free to peel yours!

** Parsnips may also be used in addition to or instead of rutabaga. Both should be peeled before diced.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Combine orange juice, maple syrup, and vinegar in glass measuring cup. Set aside.
  3. Remove tough stems from collard or chard leaves. Soak remaining leaves in large bowl with clean water to allow debris and dirt to fall off. Transfer leaves to paper towel to let dry. Stack 5 or 6 leaves together, roll them up lengthwise, cutting into 1/4-inch wide ribbons. Then, chop ribbons into 2- to 3-inch lengths. Set aside.
  4. Heat a large, deep pan over medium heat. When hot, add onions. Cook 6 to 7 minutes, adding water or broth as necessary to keep from sticking. When onions begin to soften and brown a bit, add chopped celery and continue cooking for 10 more minutes. Stir in the ginger, and cook for a minute. Add 7 cups water, salt, and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Chop potatoes, rutabaga, parsnips and carrots into 1/2″ (or bite-sized) pieces or coins. Lay them all out on a baking sheet (or 2) covered with parchment. You can choose to spray oil them lightly to encourage browning.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and add potatoes and veggies to the onion/celery broth. Simmer soup for 10 minutes. Stir in collard/chard ribbons, and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in orange juice/balsamic mixture.