Posted by: A Part of the Solution | December 16, 2010

Gypsy Soup

This is Gypsy Soup. It came from the first Moosewood cookbook. The first time I had it was at a potluck to which both my mother and I were going. She’d driven over to pick me up; when I got into the car the aroma of this wonderful dinner-in-a-bowl filled me with wonder and hunger. I wasn’t disappointed. This is seriously good soup.

Better than that, Gypsy Soup doesn’t take long to prepare. And Gypsy Soup doesn’t have too many ingredients. Most of those ingredients are basics– real pantry staples when you get right down to it.

I suspect that the original version of Gypsy Soup may have included leftover chicken as well as all the vegetarian ingredients you’ll see listed below. But this is also a form of Stone Soup (you do know about Stone Soup, don’t you?). Pretty much anything on hand may have gone into this soup to bring it up to full heartiness and completion. However, before you go and substitute everything in it for anything you have on hand, give it a try as written. That way you’ll have a better idea of when you’ve strayed too far from the Gypsy Soup concept and fully into Stone Soup territory.

Gypsy Soup

2 TBSP olive oil

1 large or 2 medium or 4 small onions, peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced to paste with 1 tsp salt

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped or 2 1/2 cups winter squash (I like butternut a lot here)

1 stalk celery, chopped (leafy green bits included, if possible)

1 large bell pepper–any color, seeded, ribbed and chopped

2 tsp paprika, the smoky Spanish stuff is way excellent here

1 tsp turmeric

dash each of cinnamon and cayenne

1 bay leaf

1 cup, heaping, chopped fresh tomatoes–or canned ones (drain them before chopping)

1 can chickpeas, I like Eden best and Westbrae next, after that whatever you have on hand or at the grocers will do

3-4 cups of vegetable stock, or chicken stock, or water

2 TBSP minced basil or flat leaf parsley

1 TBSP tamari

In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, sauté the onions and sweet potatoes for about ten minutes. Add the celery, garlic, bell pepper and spices and sauté for another ten minutes. Now put the bay leaf, tomatoes, beans and stock or water into the pot. Simmer covered for 15-20 minutes. Check to see if the vegetables are as tender, or still as firm, as you like them. Finish with the tamari and minced herbs. This is delicious as is, or with a layer of grated hard cheese on top.

You can use other vegetables to make a combination of orange and green here. Kale is lovely in this. So are chard and spinach. So are peas or green beans. Carrots may be used instead of squash or sweet potatoes. If you’re adventurous, you might try this with rutabaga or golden beets. Don’t be shy…. It’s your Gypsy Soup now!



  1. We make gypsy soup with some frequency and have shared it with others who also have added it to their repertoire. In fact, we have used Buckland’s own produce for the most recent incarnation. Delicious stuff!

    • Yaaay!

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