For some reason I’m not much of a soup maker. I think I’ve cooked soup (you know, from scratch, not heating up something that was pre-made) no more than five times in my whole life. When I come across soup recipes that look really good I usually just think to myself, “That looks really yummy. But too much work.” Maybe that’s just the excuse I give myself to not even try. But after trying this, I don’t think soups are complicated at all. Actually, they are probably one of the easiest meals to make, as long as you have the time to let the ingredients cook down and combine as needed.

I was flipping through my copy of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and came across his recipe for vegetable stock (a nice foundation for a variety of soups, I’m sure). The process is simple – there is just a lot of peeling and/or chopping of vegetables but it shouldn’t be too time-consuming. Again, letting the veggies cook down is the step where your patience will be tried because the smell of the ingredients simmering together will make you want to pick little pieces out to nibble on before you’re done. It’s kind of a shame because I couldn’t come up with any uses for the vegetables once they were scooped out of the stock. They were too soggy to do anything with so I just ate the mushrooms. Even they didn’t have much flavor (I think most of the flavors had been pulled out of the veggies and into the stock) so they weren’t that satisfying. Seems counter-intuitive to throw away what looks to be perfectly good food but the whole point of this exercise is to make stock so I guess it’s not really wasteful.

In the coming weeks I’ll tell you about two soups I made using this stock. In the meantime, if anyone would like to share a soup recipe they particularly like or an experience making and/or using vegetable stocks please do so.


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, quartered (don’t peel)
  • 1 potato, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic (don’t peel)
  • 5 to 10 white mushrooms, halved or sliced
  • 10 to 20 parsley stems or stems with leaves
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat the oil in a deep skillet or broad saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the carrots, onion, potato, celery, garlic and mushrooms. Cook without stirring for approximately 5 minutes, then stir once or twice and cook until the vegetables begin to brown (If you have more time, cook the vegetable longer, browning them well and stirring infrequently).
  • Add the parsley, 6 cups water, soy sauce and some pepper. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture simmers steadily but gently. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender. (Longer is better if you have the time.)
  • Strain, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more soy sauce or a bit of salt, before using or storing.

Nature's Bounty (corny, I know)

Vegetables (with parsley) Cooking in Water and Soy Sauce