Mark Bittman Swears – This is the Best Vegetable Soup Recipe, Ever


The air is cooler now.  It readies me for Sunday afternoons spent cooking up a pot of something, the aroma filling the apartment, heaven.

I was casting about for a new vegetable soup recipe when, as luck would have it, Mark Bittman appeared on the Today Show with what he claims is The best vegetable soup ever, no kidding.  I’ve included the recipe below.   He also prepared a chunky Roasted butternut chowder with apple and bacon.  Both recipes are from Bittman’s new tome, “The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living.”

Like the Tuscan Ribollita that I posted back in March, these soups are not merely a starter, they’re a meal.  Do as Mark Bittman suggests in the segment, add a hunk of good, crusty bread and a glass a fruity red wine, and call it dinner.

Buon appetito!

Recipe: The best vegetable soup ever, no kidding

Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist and author of “The Food Matters Cookbook”

  • 3/4 cup olive oil, more or less
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch parsley, washed and chopped, thick stems discarded
  • 2 or 3 cabbage leaves, chopped
  • 1 bunch chard, preferably white, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked white beans, like cannelloni, with their liquid if possible

Put about a third of the olive oil in the bottom of a deep pot and turn the heat to medium.

Add half the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, which takes about 10 minutes.

Add about half of the remaining oil and repeat the process, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.

Add the remaining oil with the parsley, cabbage and chard and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is softened but not browned.

Add the tomato paste and stir.

Mash the beans so that they’re about half mashed and half more-or-less whole. Add this mixture to the pot, along with any bean cooking liquid and enough water to make the whole mixture stewy but not watery.

Continue cooking, tasting and adjusting the seasoning as necessary, until all the vegetables are very tender and the soup is hot. Serve hot or warm.

Serving Size

Makes about 10 servings


5 Comments on “Mark Bittman Swears – This is the Best Vegetable Soup Recipe, Ever”

  1. Tracy Mitchell Griggs says:

    This is a decent recipe, but I would add garlic and some hot paprika for some “bite”..I also added a bit of homemade stock..

  2. M Scher says:

    I made this soup and I think that it’s great. Loved the flavor and all of the ingredients. Wouldn’t change a thing I just added more carrots and celery and used a little less olive oil!

  3. Jerry Polon says:

    Just had this delicious soup at a friend’s. Question about the chard: use only the greens or include some stalk as well? Never heard of “white chard.”

    • Katherine Danesi says:

      Glad to hear that you liked it. Good question: you should avoid using most of the heavy stalk, sticking to the Swiss Chard greens only. Depending on where you live, you’ll get access to different colors of chard: green, red, white. Use what you have access to. Personally, I’m a fan of red. Let me know how the soup turns out!

  4. Brooke says:

    Great base. I added 1 quart of organic low sodium vegetable broth, a few sprigs of thyme, 1 bay leaf and a couple pinches of chili flakes. I also added a few more carrots and 3/4 cup of tomato paste. I pulled the bay leaf and thyme after about 10 minutes. Delicious!

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