Instead of tossing nutritious food too soon and running to the store to purchase more, why not turn your about-

to-expire veggies along with any other stored leftovers from previous meals into a nutrient-dense soup that is the perfect immune-booster during the cold and flu season?

“Kitchen Sink” Soup

This soup makes a hearty meal, with plenty of leftovers, depending on what you have on hand.

Prep Time: 1 hour; Cook Time: 1 to 3 hours; Serves: varies according to amount of ingredients


Whatever is in the fridge that needs to
be eaten (e.g., leftovers like cooked rice, pasta, grains, beans, cooked meats, cooked vegetables; unused fresh vegetables close to expiring)
2 tbs olive oil (optional)
4–8 cups water (or broth/bouillon)
Herbs and spices to taste


1. Take a look at the produce that’s been sitting unused in your fridge. The best marker for expiration in vegetables is a change in color. When they begin to lose their pigment and become pale (most green vegetables will turn yellow), it’s an indication that part of the vegetable isn’t edible. You can still utilize the rest by removing the expired section. The lifespan of a vegetable isn’t as ephemeral as one might assume. Many typical soup reagents such as onions, cabbage, celery, beets, garlic, potatoes, turnips, carrots, and bell peppers, last for weeks to months.1 Other vegetables like zucchini and cauliflower 1 can last for about two weeks. Mushrooms, broccoli, and leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collards, and lettuce typically last from 5 to 7 days.1 Use your eyes, nose, and hands to gauge freshness.

2. Wash and/or scrub the rescued veggies thoroughly under running water, removing mushy or discolored parts with a knife. Peel and/or chop them up and set aside.

3. In a big soup pot, add a little olive oil or a few tablespoons of water and lightly sauté aromatics (e.g., onions, garlic, celery, carrots), if using, until slightly softened. Add any other uncooked vegetables followed
by 4 to 8 cups (you’ll have to eyeball the amount yourself ) of water/broth. Add a bay leaf or two and/or other herbs and spices, if desired, but hold off on adding any salt or pepper). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables have reached desired consistency.

4. Next, add any previously cooked items (e.g., rice, grain, pasta, cooked meat, beans etc), bring back to a boil briefly, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. You can also add uncooked grains at this point too, just adjust the simmer time accordingly.

5. When done cooking, season soup with salt and pepper if desired, but taste it first because the leftovers you added may have already been seasoned.

6. Serve with favorite soup toppings (e.g., grated Parmesan cheese, croutons, chopped parsley, chopped green onions). Refrigerate uneaten portions for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.1

Flu-Fighter Garlic Soup

This recipe will also clear out your fridge (and perhaps your nasal cavity, too).
Prep Time
:15 Mins; Cook Time: 25 Min; Serves: 5


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 large onion (chopped)

5 cloves garlic (minced)
1 large carrot (chopped)
5 mushroom caps (chopped)
1/4 cup of chopped coriander
1/2 cup quinoa or lentils
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
6 cups water or vegetable broth To taste: salt and pepper Optional: chopped kale or spinach


Prior, boil 2 cups of water in a pot. When
the water is finished boiling, add either the quinoa or lentils and let them simmer for the time recommended on their label.

1. In a medium- to large-size pot, heat oil for a minute and then sauté the onion and garlic while adding the turmeric powder and some pepper.

2. Add the carrots, mushrooms, and coriander, letting them cook for a few minutes.

3. Stir in the vegetable broth or water, along with the quinoa or lentils. Let simmer for
15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more pepper and salt if you chose.

4. Finally, add the kale or spinach. Let everything sit in the pot for a few more minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 196.6; Total Fat: 9.7g; Saturated fat: 1.2g; Unsaturated fat: 7.3g; Cholesterol: 0.0mg; Total Carbohydrate: 24.2g; Sugars: 5.2g; Dietary Fiber: 3.0g; Protein: 4.2g; Sodium: 650mg; Potassium: 207.9mg


1. Brodwin, E. Expiration dates are bogus —
here’s the best way to tell if a food’s gone bad. Business Insider. 12 March 2019. https://www. heres-how-to-tell-if-food-has-gone-bad-2016- 7#yogurt-it-puddles-more-than-usual-or-grows- mold-9. Accessed 11 April 2020 .

Featured Recipes

Get Creative with Kombucha
Originating in Northeast China,1 kombucha is a fermented tea, enriched with probiotics and antioxidants,...
Read More
Vegetable soup with chicken fillet.Top view with copy space
Reduce Waste… with Soup!
Instead of tossing nutritious food too soon and running to the store to purchase more, why not turn your...
Read More

Sign up for NHR’s FREE Email Newsletter!

Get the latest news updates on preventative nutrition and holistic healthcare, including recipes, exercise, healthy lifestyle tips, maintaining mental wellness, and more!


Subscribe to NHR's Print Magazine

For only $18 per year, receive the information-packed printed magazine of NHR delivered to your home or business every other month (6x/year)