Sometimes you just have a bunch of veggies you need to use – they wouldn’t all necessarily fit together well into a neat side dish or salad. Well, it’s probably a great time to consider making a soup!
I found myself in this situation last night. I decided I was going to make a soup then started scoping out what I had that would fit together well…. a bag of carrots with a few left, a bag of celery, a red bell pepper, 2 zucchini, half a container of baby bella ‘shrooms, onions, garlic, shallot, a can of diced tomatoes plus two fresh tomatoes, and about a pound of fresh green beans. Maybe you don’t have all these ingredients… the beauty of the kitchen sink soup is you use what you have. Maybe you don’t have all those fresh veggies but you have a few fresh veggie and a few frozen (peas, corn, spinach, broccoli)… throw it in. Here are the basics of what you’ll need to make a delicious soup:
(1) Veggies to develop flavor. Any of these are great flavor agents: onion, garlic, shallots, mushrooms, celery, fresh herbs, tomato (canned diced tomatoes, canned diced tomatoes with garlic & herbs, tomato paste).
(2) Veggies to add color. Any of the following would be great examples: carrots, green beans, broccoli, spinach, squash, sweet potato, peas, corn, okra, Swiss chard, asparagus, kale, leek, etc, etc, etc — you get the point, just use what you have and what you think would go well together!
(3) If this is going to be an entire meal (which I recommend, because that makes it super easy) then choose a protein to round it out: could be ground turkey or ground beef that you brown (fully cook) and then throw in, canned beans (black, Great Northern, pinto, lentils; drained & rinsed before adding), tofu, or a rotisserie chicken that you skin and pull apart before adding.
(4) Liquid. Obviously every soup needs liquid. I recommend using a homemade or low sodium stock (veggie, chicken, beef) versus a store bought full sodium stock or bouillon. If you can find a lower sodium bouillon, that would be a great healthy choice, too.
Okay, have what you need? Now you’re going to want to sauté those flavor developing veggies in some olive or canola oil – I like to sauté them on a high temp at first then turn down the temp and cook them low & slow to derive the most flavor. Watch them carefully to make sure they don’t burn. When they’re looking nice and mushy – and if you’re using onion, when they’re looking a bit translucent, then add your liquid and bring to a boil. Throw in all the other chopped veggies then bring it down to a simmer. Add your cooked protein. Add any additional seasonings (I used cumin, salt, and pepper – but get creative and use what you have!). Congratulations, you just made a healthy, high fiber, balanced, and delicious meal! Serve.
See? Cooking without a recipe is easy – and you waste less and save money! Win-win-win!