Prep Cook Yield Ready In
30 minutes 90 minutes serves 6 2 hours 20 minutes

Vegetarian Chicken Soup

A schmaltz-free version of the Jewish classic cure-all.

Chicken soup is so central to Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine that vegetarians have developed meat-free approximations of the classic. A generous amount of olive oil provides the glistening golden broth typically provided by the chicken skin, while dried onion powder adds savory depth. Serve this soup with noodles, rice, or matzo balls.

Reprinted with permission from The Jewish Cookbook, by Leah Koenig (Phaidon, 2019)


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

2 large onions, quartered through the root

6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

3 celery stalks, cut into chunks

1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks

1 medium sweet potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into chunks

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 small bunch dill, plus chopped dill for serving

1/2 small bunch flat-leaf parsley

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt, plus more as needed

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, parsnip, sweet potato, onion powder, and garlic powder. Tie the dill and parsley bunches together at the stems with kitchen twine and add to the pot along with the bay leaves and 12 cups of water. Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by about a third, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. 
  2. Remove the vegetables and strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Return the broth to the pot and stir in the salt and pepper. Discard all the vegetables and herbs except the carrots and celery. Cut those into bite-size pieces and return to the pot. Taste, and if the soup is still a little thin, stir in a drizzle of additional olive oil and, if desired, more salt, 1 teaspoon at a time.
  3. Serve hot, topped with chopped dill.

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