I love to eat this hearty soup for lunch, with some bread and cheese. It is a perfect early spring soup, inspired by my travels to Israel and the simple soups made by my friends Lior and Ayala, who live in Jerusalem. They have taken over the garden square that they share with neighbours, where they grow a mix of fruit, vegetables and flowers. As with many soups, the vegetables can be changed with the season, to make the most of whatever is plentiful and delicious at the time.


  • 2tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large leek trimmed and cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1tsp Sea salt coarse (kosher)
  • 3 Carrots topped and tailed, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 Celeriac peeled and diced, and the leaves (if you have them) finely chopped
  • 2 Potatoes scrubbed and diced
  • 3 Tomatoes large, diced
  • 800g (2 tins) Chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1.2l Vegetable stock
  • 1 Lemon juice of
  • 25g Flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • Pepper


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the leek, garlic, salt and some pepper and sweat gently for 5–10 minutes until the vegetables start to release their juices. Add the carrots, celeriac, potatoes, tomatoes, chickpeas and bay leaf and sweat for another 5 minutes.

  • STEP 2

    Add the stock, bring up to a simmer and cook for 30–40 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Do this with the lid off, so the soup reduces slightly, and the flavours are concentrated.

  • STEP 3

    Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

This recipe is taken from Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots by Aaron Bertelsen (Phaidon, £29.95).


Having studied at Kew Gardens and spent two years at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Israel, Aaron Bertelsen is now vegetable gardener and cook at Great Dixter. His book, The Great Dixter Cookbook was published in March 2017.