Lunchbox – Clean up the fridge veg soup


One of my resolutions this year has been to be more mindful about food waste. I try not to waste food, but sometimes it’s hard when you are eating for one. Also, I think we waste a lot without even realizing it. So I thought that one of the most important places to start was to pay more attention to how I use food and whether I may be wasting more than I realize.

My water use in food preparation has been a big surprise to me. Although I grew up being taught not to leave the water running while brushing my teeth and such, I don’t have similar habits in the kitchen. Until I started analyzing how I’m using food in the kitchen, I hadn’t noticed how often I leave the water running while cleaning veg or washing dishes. Or how often I discard cooking water – extra water from making tea; water from boiling veg, etc. I’m starting to find ways to ensure that I’m using only the amount of water that I need for the task, and looking for clever ways to reuse cooking water. (While I haven’t found any for the latter, I do plan on watering my plants with it in the spring if I finally figure out a way to do window box veg and herbs.)

I was inspired by blogger Sarah Wilson to find ways to extend the shelf life of veg by using them in soups. She extols the beauty of tossing bits and pieces of leftover and old veg into soups, which is exactly what I did today to clean out the refrigerator. I had some kale and escarole that were a bit limp from being almost frozen after being pushed near the back of the fridge, a few remaining harukei turnips that had also suffered frostbite in parts, and some slightly limp carrots. Here’s what I did with them:


Clean out the Fridge Vegetable Soup

The beauty of this is that you could swap almost any ingredient for something you have in your fridge.

  • 2 T olive oil + 2T olive oil
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 4 harukei turnips diced
  • 3 carrots sliced
  • 1/2 bunch chard, coarsely chopped
  • 1 head escarole, well-cleaned and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box Trader Joe’s free range low salt chicken broth
  1. Warm olive oil on medium heat in dutch oven.
  2. Add 1 chopped shallot and cook until translucent, but not brown.
  3. Add carrots and turnips. Cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add beans and garlic and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes more, taking care not to let the garlic brown.
  5. Add the chicken broth.
  6. Bring to a low boil, then immediately turn down and let simmer for 30 minutes for flavors to come together. Stir occasionally.
  7. While the soup is simmering, warm the other 2 T olive oil in a separate skillet.
  8. Add the shallot and cook until translucent.
  9. Add the turkey, some salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until slightly browned and cooked all the way through.
  10. Add this to the soup.
  11. After the soup has simmered for 30 minutes, add the greens and stir.
  12. Check to see if soup needs more salt or pepper.
  13. Let soup simmer a few minutes more until the greens are just wilted.
  14. Spoon into a bowl and enjoy.


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