Sopa Boba (Dominican Vegetable Soup) is an easy recipe for a lighter, meatless alternative to other soups in our blog
Sopa Boba is one of the stars of Dominican cuisine, a simple, light vegetable soups that more often than not we use when in need of comfort or nourishing sustenance. It's also a dish with a curious name.
In Spanish the word boba(o) can be used to describe someone who "simple", or of limited intellectual capacity.
The Spanish "sopa boba" was a soup made with the leftovers food from convents around the thirteenth century, and given to the poor and destitute as a charity. The ingredients were of dubious provenance, and the flavor lacking. It was a dish made strictly for sustenance and survival.
Dominican sopa boba
The name may be taken from that old Spanish soup, but our sopa boba has little in common with that unglamorous concoction. What makes ours "boba" is the lack of meat in it, but there is a wealth of flavor and vegetables, some of which were not available to Spaniards in those days (yuca [cassava], for example).
It is most commonly associated with times in which we needed recovery, and given credit for being of easy digestion. It can also be served as a light dinner, or at least that's how we did in my extended family.
About this recipe
The common element in any sopa boba served in the Dominican Republic will be the lack of any meat. It's one of our quintessential vegan recipes. Adding any meat to it will make it into an altogether different dish. It also always have noodles (angel's hair).
Having said that, each home, and each cook will have their preferred vegetables, usually yuca, auyama and potatoes. Others will depend on availability and preference.
Do you add anything to your sopa boba that ours doesn't have? Share it in the comments.
Sopa Boba Recipe (Vegetable Soup)
- 1 qt of vegetable broth [1 liter]
- 1 tablespoon of fruit vinegar
- 1 cup of potatoes cut into small cubes
- 2 sprigs of thyme (optional)
- 7 allspice berries (optional)
- 1 cup of yuca (cassava) cut into small cubes
- 1 celery stalk , sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic , sliced
- 1 cup of auyama (West Indies pumpkin) cut into small cubes
- 1 cup angel hair noodles
- 1 sprig of cilantro , chopped
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
Boiling vegetables: Mix in a pot vegetable broth, 1 qt of water [1 liter], vinegar, potatoes, thyme, allspice berries, yuca, celery, garlic, and auyama. Bring to a boil over medium heat until it breaks a boil.
Cooking noodles: Add the noodles and stir. Cook covered over medium heat until all the ingredients are cooked throughout. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
Seasoning: Add cilantro and season with pepper and salt to taste. Discard allspice berries.
Serving: Serve hot alongside toasted rustic bread or pan de agua.