Nothing Soup

About this recipe

This soup is excellent and virtually fat-free. First make the broth and then cook the noodles. Make a pot early in the week, eat half, and either refrigerate or freeze the rest.


Fill a Dutch oven three-quarters full with water (approx. 16 cups). Place on stove, turn burner to high, and add:

  • 1 beef cube,
  • 1 chicken cube,
  • 3 stalks celery,
  • 3 large carrots (peeled),
  • 1 medium cooking onion (peeled),
  • 2 potatoes (peeled),
  • 2 cups zucchini, spinach, or cauliflower (optional),
  • 3 canned plum tomatoes and a little juice,
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (but you can leave it out),
  • 1 tbsp. salt and ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper.

Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. When the vegetables are cooked (the carrot is soft), remove pot from burner and let cool for ½ hour.

Throw out the celery if using outside stalks, and blend using one of those handy-dandy hand blenders. 

Break spaghetti or use small noodles (e.g., fedelini or capellini)—large noodles absorb too much broth. Boil noodles in a separate pot, until three-quarters cooked. Then drain off the water and simply add the right amount of broth to you noodle pot. Let noodles and broth cook together until done.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.


  • If you have fresh parsley on hand, throw some in.
  • Don’t chop the vegetables—they blend better whole.
  • You discard the outside celery stalks because they don't blend well.
  • If the broth looks too thick, add water. If it’s not tasty enough, add more salt and pepper.
  • A Dutch oven is a stout pot with handles on both sides that looks like it would make a nice home for upper-middle-class goldfish.
  • You could substitute yams, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash for the potatoes. You can also add Swiss chard or leeks with the vegetables. 
  • To make Cream of Nothing Soup use two chicken cubes, lots of cauliflower, some broccoli, celery insides and leaves, a little potato, the onion, one tomato (to make it Italian), the oil and spices. Then when cooling, add a splash of table cream. Use rice instead of noodles.
    If you don't have a hand blender, pour soup through a strainer into a large bowl. The vegetables will stay in the strainer. Then blend vegetables with a couple ladles of broth, and pour back into pot and mix. Remember, never put anything hot through a blender—it will explode!

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