Vegetarian Soup Base

Stock-ingredientsWhether you are playing host to a score of hungry relatives, or creating a soup for a cozy night at home, a good vegetable broth is a flavorful base for so many recipes.


  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Unflavored)
  • 2 Onions, Chopped
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 4 Stalks Celery, Minced
  • 1 C. Water
  • Optional Additions:
    • 5 Garlic Cloves, Peeled and Minced
    • 3 Carrots, Peeled and Chopped into ½” Dice
    • Black Pepper, Course Ground
    • ½ tsp. Thyme
    • 3 Tomatoes, Cored and Roughly Chopped
    • 2 Green Peppers, Cored and Roughly Chopped



To build your soup base:

  1. Pour olive oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan such as a Dutch oven or big heavy stock pot, and heat over medium-high heat. Once oil is sizzling, add the chopped onion and “sweat” them, stirring frequently and allowing the vegetables to release their sugars, caramelizing on the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle with the salt.
  2. When onion is well-browned (typically 8 – 10 minutes), add the chopped celery and repeat the sweating process with this addition. Use a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to scrape the yummy browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook the onion-celery mixture about 5 – 6 minutes.
  3. If you aren’t using any of the optional ingredients, it’s time to deglaze the pan. Add the water to the hot pan, and quickly scrape any remaining caramelized vegetables from the bottom and sides of the pot.

Or, if you want to go for a more complex flavor in your soup base with some of the optional additions, don’t deglaze quite yet.

  1. Instead, sprinkle the minced garlic with another ½ teaspoon of salt, and add to the garlic-celery mixture, continuing to sweat/brown/sauté for 3 -5 minutes. If the bottom of the pan begins to seem dry and you fear that the garlic and other ingredients may burn rather than brown, add more olive oil, about 1 teaspoon at a time. Continue to stir frequently.
  2. Now, add the chopped carrot and a few twists of freshly-ground black pepper, continuing to check for adequate oil to keep your vegetables from sticking.  Sprinkle with thyme, and cook the vegetables for approximately 10 more minutes.
  3. For even more tasty soup base, optionally add some tomatoes and/or chopped green pepper. Sauté these newest additions until they have given up their unique flavors, stirring and browning for about 5 minutes.
  4. Once you have sweated, sautéed, and otherwise caramelized the vegetables for your soup base, deglaze the pan according to the directions above.

After deglazing the pan, cool, cover and refrigerate your soup base.  This base will keep, refrigerated, up to one week, or can be cooled and frozen up to several months.

Using the Soup Base:

  1. When you are ready to expand the volume of your soup base, add an additional 1-2 quarts of water to the caramelized vegetables, and bring to a boil over high heat.  The less liquid you add, the stronger the concentration of the flavors in your soup base.
  2. Once the liquid begins to bubble, turn down to a bare simmer. Cover pan and allow to simmer, at least 60 min, so that flavors can permeate the broth.
  3. Depending on your recipe, you can leave in the delicious bits of vegetable, or if preferred, pour the soup through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the solids.


Feel free to make any of the following substitutions. This soup base is merely a starting point for your own flavorful creation, and you should customize to suit your preferences.

  • You can easily substitute any of our flavored olive oils for the unflavored oil included in this recipe.
  • Substitute a cup of your favorite red or white wine for the water in this recipe; this helps build a unique flavor profile that you can customize for your dish.
  • No fresh garlic?  Our Garlic Powder is a Red or White Wine for the water).
  • (OR 2-4 tsp Garlic, Powder or Garlic, Roasted Granulated as a handy substitute.
  • If fresh tomatoes aren’t available, you may replace them with a 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes.


Have you made this recipe? Share your experience with us in the comments below.