• 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. Other vegetables like zucchini and cauliflower 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. 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. 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).
7. Refrigerate uneaten portions for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.