Old Bay Soup

Mark and I are just back from a 5-day trip to Charleston to visit his family. When we arrived home, I was famished and there was no food in the house, so I had to go to Wegmans and do some grocery shopping, after which I quickly shoved a frozen burrito and some chips & salsa down my throat so I didn’t pass out from hunger, effectively spoiling my appetite for dinner. Then around 9, of course, I wanted something else to eat, but didn’t want to eat a huge meal. I also wanted to have something to take to work for lunch tomorrow. So, as is my wont, I made a big pot of soup. Today’s feature: Old Bay soup. Which is basically just a soup I dumped a bunch of Old Bay into. I’m a Baltimore girl, but since I haven’t eaten seafood in 22 years, I have to get my Old Bay fix in other formats…and soup’s a favorite.

I was hungry and not thinking of saving the recipe, so even more than usual, these amounts are estimates. Soups like this one are very much taste-and-season-as-you-go.

Old Bay Soup

1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
a couple of squirts of Bragg’s liquid aminos (or a tablespoon or two soy sauce)
1 tsp dried seaweed, your choice (optional; I used wakame)
6 cups vegan broth or water + vegan bouillon (your favorite flavor)
1/3 cup bulgur
1/3 cup long- or medium-grain rice (or 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed – as I was eating it I wished I’d used quinoa!)
diced “meat” of your choice – I used Gardein Chick’n Scallopini, but any seitan, tofu, young jackfruit, or commercial vegan “meat” will work, or you can just skip it
1/2 tsp kelp powder (optional)
handful or two green beans, trimmed and chopped or french-cut
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1/2 tsp thyme
1-2 Tbsp Old Bay
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat some oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and celery seed; cook until the onions are soft. (If your “meat’ needs to be browned, add it with the onions as well.) Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until bulgur and rice are cooked, about 45 minutes. Season to taste – you probably won’t need any salt as Old Bay is very salty.

So, as I mentioned, we just returned from Charleston. A tidal stream runs past Mark’s mom’s house, and I was visited by ducks each morning as I sat on the porch and ate breakfast.

There is also a pond about a block from the house, where about a minute after you arrive, turtles will swim up to you. They’re huge!

The most startling and surprising wildlife I saw, though, was Din! Din was Mark’s cat when Mark and I met. He gave Din to his parents when he moved in with me because Tigger and Brachtune would have killed Din. Well, Din never forgave either of us – she hates us – and sometimes we don’t catch a single glimpse of her the whole time we are down there. She’s getting braver and has been making appearances after a day or two, but this is the first time I’ve been able to capture her on “film”. Here she is peeping around the corner to assess the situation. Very exciting.

I showed a little too much interest in her, so she ran under a chair for safety. Big sissy.

Mark’s family lives near Folly Beach, which is home to the Morris Island lighthouse.

And here we are being cute in front of the lighthouse:


  1. Josiane Said,

    April 14, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

    Oh my, the look on Din’s face! She looks like she’s really not sure she’s quite ready to forgive you after all… 😉

  2. Jes Said,

    April 16, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

    Awww love you guys being cute in front of the lighthouse! And that turtle is way too awesome too 🙂 I would have never thought to put Old Bay in soup–nifty!

  3. Basil Said,

    May 20, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

    Just made this soup for dinner tonight.. again. Thanks for the great recipe, it’s always delicious!

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