Forget the all-you-can-eat soup bars whose soups often fall on the side of being bland or oversalted, but never quite right. Make your own soup at home, and your taste buds (and wallet) will thank you. There are so many variations on this recipe. Add or leave out vegetables to suit your taste. If you like thick soups, consider puréeing this recipe in the pot with an immersion blender.
Put the garlic, vegetables, thyme, and broth into a large soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley or chives and season with salt and pepper, to taste. If using, add the lemon juice. Remove from heat and serve.