The art of the "must-go" soup

One of my favorite ways to clean out the produce bin of my fridge is to make a “must-go soup.”  This can be anywhere from one to ten ingredients, depending on what you have on hand.   I often use produce that is about to come to the end of its shelf-life to avoid waste.  If any parts of the vegetable are obviously mushy, dried out, or black, I cut them off.  

Essential ingredients

There are a four essentials I recommend as a starting point for any must-go soup:

Not-Beef bouillon cubes: I highly recommend these for their hearty, warm, comforting flavor, but any bouillon will do.
Onion: any variety
Garlic: clove or powder
Tomato: fresh, canned diced, sauce, paste, etc.


I dissolve the bouillon in about a cup of water and heat it to medium-high.  Next, I add whatever “hard” vegetables I have, like dry beans, garlic, carrots, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, beets, rutabaga, sweet potato, etc.  If I am using dry beans, I add them alone first, and let them simmer and re-hydrate before adding any other vegetables.  Then, I add herbs and seasonings. When the “hard” veggies are just barely al dente, I add softer vegetables, such as onion, celery, broccoli, cabbage, squash, tomato, etc.  I simmer these until they are soft. I stir in canned vegetables next, such as corn, peas, green beans, potatoes, or beans. Lastly, I add field greens, spinach, sprouts, or kale, and season with salt.


I let the veggies I have on hand guide my seasoning choices. For example, if I have black beans, red onion, and cilantro in the fridge, I will punch it up with some cumin and lime for a southwestern flavor. If I am left with chickpeas and red pepper, I might make a Middle Eastern or Indian inspired dish. Collards, blackeyed peas, and okra could become either southern, Cajun, or Ethiopian. White beans, garlic, and basil might be mixed with some fauxsage and Marsala wine for an Italian twist.

Time required

This kind of refrigerator-purging soup takes me about 20 minutes to make. If you are raw, I believe the same approach could be taken with juicing or processing to make a raw juice blend or soup. My primary desire is I make sure nothing goes to waste, and that everything I buy gets eaten.


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