To Make Croutons: Cut bread into 1/2 inch cubes. Stale bread works best. Pour oil into a nonstick pan and heat over medium-high heat. Mix bread cubes with the seasonings and add to pan. Saute cubes, stirring frequently and shaking the pan, until the cubes are golden brown. Remove and discard the garlic.
To Make the Soup: In a large pot, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat and add the garlic, cooking until light brown. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Toss in the green beans, broccoli and cauliflower and cook until just al dente. Add the tomato paste and chicken stock, stirring until the tomato paste is incorporated. Sprinkle in the herbs and add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10-15 min. Remove the bay leaf and season with pepper. Transfer to a large tureen or divide among individual bowls. Garnish each portion with 2-3 Tbsp. croutons and 1 level tsp. parmesan cheese. Serves 10