This article is contributed by www.formybelly.com

That little cube of cabbage, the one-two celery stick, small cup of mushrooms and the squash which has been untouched since you bought it fresh from the Mandi 3 days back!

Our leftover vegetables form such a mismatched bunch that its impossible to think of a recipe that would use up all of them.

The solution is simple – Soup! Its the easiest way to pull together all the mishmash and feed yourself and your family a delicious and healthy meal. Any vegetable can be turned into soup with little time and minimum effort.

Lets begin with what we can stir in that pot: Start with a base of sautéed onion, garlic and carrot and a good stock. The stock can be vegetable/ chicken as per your taste but if you want to give it your own spin, you can instead add cumin, turmeric and or any curry powder.

The vegetables can be any vegetables – hard or soft – the only thing that changes is when they go into the pot i.e. a carrot will take longer to cook than spinach, so it goes into the pot in the beginning.

You can add leftover meat (chicken/ beef/ fish) anything goes! If your soup is watery and needs thickening, you can serve it with rice noodles, rice or even spaghetti pasta. With so many options available you can create your own Soup Adventure!

Here is a quick recipe which can form a base of any vegetable soup:

1 Onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
2 Carrots (large), peeled and chopped into small chunks
1 Bay Leaf
4 tbsp Vegetable oil
3 cups Vegetables, peeled and chopped into small chunks*
6 cups Stock (vegetable, chicken or beef)
2 tsp Garam Masala or Curry Powder
50 gms parmesan cheese (optional), grated

• In a large sauce pan heat the vegetable oil and add the garlic and onions. Sauté them till they begin to soften.
• Add the carrot (and the spices if you are cooking with those). Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
• Add the stock (or only 6 cups of water if you have added your own spices), bay leaf, and the vegetables. Bring it to boil and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft and cooked through.
• Blend the soup in the pan using a hand blender or pour into a mixer/grinder and blend. (You can skip this step if you want bite sized chunks in your soup)
• Stir in the parmesan cheese (if using) and cook the soup for a further 5 minutes to reduce slightly, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

*Great vegetables for soups can be chunky like bell peppers, sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, etc or leafy greens like spinach, watercress, cabbage and rocket leaves. Make sure they are all cleaned, peeled and cut into similar sized chunks.

You can go one step further from using leftover raw vegetables to also use leftover dal/ sabzi from previous night’s dinner! Add them at the end of the boiling process when the raw vegetables are tender. In this scenario it is advisable to puree the soup as your leftover dinner takes over new flavours.

After the soup is finished there are many ways to jazz it up – swirl in some cream at the time of serving or sprinkle chopped chives or parsley; or scatter a few croutons made from leftover bread, cubed and fried in oil or butter until golden brown.

The great thing about this soup is you can tailor it to your taste and diet restrictions. Depending on what has gotten left in your vegetable drawers in the week, your Soup-Night can be one of a kind recipe or something that you would want to repeat over and over again!

Please do share your story of your leftover soup adventure with us. What spices and garnishing did you use?

This article is contributed by www.formybelly.com

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