Delicious in-season vegetable ham bone soup is a super easy way to create a healthy and hearty meal using leftover ham, a ham bone, and vegetables you have on hand.
This article is a part of Tuesdays In The Garden full of fall garden-to-table recipes. Below this yummy vegetable ham bone soup recipe, you’ll find even more inspiring recipes that use seasonal produce from our Tuesdays in the Garden group that I know you will love!
Many people I know think of ham as a holiday meat, just grabbing a whole or spiral ham for Christmas or Easter. The rest of the year it seems to be reserved for lunch meat.
But ham is one of my favorite meats and it can be pretty frugal if you buy a couple when they’re on sale and freeze them for later. I’ll bake one for dinner and slice off the rest for lunches, frittatas, and casseroles. What’s left after that is a bone with a good amount of meat that makes great broth and is the basis for another of my favorites, a delicious vegetable ham bone soup.
It’s so easy to throw this soup together in a pot on the stove, a Crockpot or an Instant Pot. Not only is the cooking method versatile, the soup is, too, using whatever in-season vegetables you have. If you’re not ready to make ham bone soup right away, the bone can be thrown in the freezer with all the meat pieces attached and pulled out when you are ready for a warm and comforting bowl of tasty soup.
Vegetable Ham Bone Soup
Making soup with a ham bone is pretty simple and to be the most versatile, I use two steps:
- make a ham bone broth
- add vegetables, beans, etc. to make the soup
To make the broth, put the ham bone in a pot, cover the bone with water and add a chopped onion. You can use a slow cooker, and Instant Pot or a stockpot on the stove.
When the meat is starting to fall off the bone (or you get home from work, or the timer dings…whatever), remove it from the liquid (now a wonderful ham broth) and set it on a cutting board to cool. Once you can touch it without burning your hands off, pull the meat off, cut up any big pieces and remove any remaining fat before adding the meat back to the broth in the pot.
Now from this base of broth, onion, and ham you can create lots different soups – split-pea soup, ham and potato chowder, ham and bean soup, or my favorite, a simple harvest vegetable soup using in-season vegetables and whatever else I may have in the fridge.
This time I included chopped cabbage, a small amount of chopped kale, a diced sweet red pepper, a diced jalapeño pepper, fresh corn cut from the cob (frozen of course is great, too), and a defrosted container of pre-cooked, frozen garbanzo beans. And if you are making this around the holidays, you can even throw in holiday leftovers like mashed potatoes and cooked vegetables!
Add your chosen ingredients to the broth and ham in the pot plus seasonings of garlic, pepper, thyme and basil. Cook until everything’s tender – 15 minutes for an Instant Pot, 1 hour on the stove top, or 2-4 hours with a slow cooker, your choice!
This obviously makes a ton of soup which is okay with me since it’s just as good warmed up for lunches. It freezes well, too, and freezing some in small portions is super convenient for quick meals on busy days.
It’s time to stock up on ham bones, right? (Oh, and once you tell people you like to make soup with bones, they’ll be offering them to you at every holiday so don’t be shy!)