Vegetable soup is prepared using vegetables, leafy greens, mushrooms, and roots as main ingredients. Some fruits can also be used, such as tomato and squash. Vegetable soup can be prepared as a stock- or cream-based soup. Basic ingredients in addition to vegetables can include beans and legumes, grains, tofu, noodles and pasta, vegetable broth or stock, milk, cream, water, olive or vegetable oil, seasonings, salt and pepper, among myriad others. Some vegetable soups are pureed and run through a sieve, straining them to create a smooth texture. It is typically served hot, although some, such as gazpacho, are typically served cold. Vegetable soup is sometimes served as a starter or appetizer dish.
Vegetable soup dates to ancient history. A 5th-century Roman cookbook included a recipe for "a forerunner of onion soup." "Broth" is mentioned by approximately the year 1000 and "potage" by the 1400s. Clifford Wright has stated that cabbage soup was important in medieval Italian cuisine.
In central Appalachia, vegetable soup, also referred to as winter vegetable soup and country soup, is a traditional staple food and common dish during the months of December–February among Appalachian highlanders.
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