Recipe: Put this easy-to-make vegetable soup on your emergency dinner list

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This soup recipe is on my “emergency dinner list.” The formula is open to vegetable substitutions and goes together quickly. I started making it 10 years ago when I interviewed cookbook author Mark Bittman about his book, “Eat Vegan Before 6:00.”

Thumbing through the recipes, I doubted it at first glance. A quarter-cup tomato paste seemed like a bad idea. But guess what? I made it and loved it. The soup is as delicious as it is simple to prepare.

Easiest Vegetable Soup

Yield: 4 servings


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Black pepper to taste

6 cups vegetable broth or water

3 cups chopped firm vegetables, such as carrots, winter squash, cauliflower, broccoli or root vegetables

3 cups chopped soft vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, green beans or any greens

3 cups cooked or canned beans or fresh or frozen corn kernels or peas

Garnish 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil


1. Put oil in large pot or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook until it dries out a bit, a minute or two. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Add broth or water and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Add firm vegetables and bring to boil. Adjust heat so the mixture gently bubbles. Cook, stirring once in a while, until vegetables are soft, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the kinds you’re using.

3. Add zucchini or other soft vegetables, along with beans or corn or peas. Return to boil, then lower the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cook, stirring once in a while, until everything is quite soft, another 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in basil; taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Source: “Eat Vegan Before 6:00” by Mark Bittman (Clarkson Potter, $26)

Award-winning food writer Cathy Thomas has written three cookbooks, including “50 Best Plants on the Planet.” Follow her at @CathyThomas

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