Using Leftovers to Make a Hearty Vegan Soup

It happens nearly every week. We reach a point where everything in the fridge needs to be eaten THAT NIGHT. Or else it’s off to compost-land with it all. I hate wasting food. But this usually happens at the end of the week. And it just so happens that I don’t like thinking at the end of the week.

Using Leftovers to Make a Hearty Vegan Soup - Luminous Vegans

So what am I supposed to do with these limp carrots? How about this half an onion? Or these sad kale leaves at the bottom of the crisp drawer? And taco night was fun, but now I have just this tiny bit of black beans left. Can’t I just do nothing and have this food turn into a meal??

Turns out the answer to that last question is YES! Ok, so I don’t do nothing-nothing. But I definitely do less than the something-something (think crazy miraculous magic dinner-spell wizadry) that I originally thought I would have to do when I first took inventory of the fridge.

The point is…when life hands you random leftovers, dying veggies and a shut-down brain, make soup! Because it’s incredibly easy to just throw food stuffs in a pot and let it simmer. And nothing disguises limp veggies better than a pot full of vegan stock. It’s like all these leftovers are about to get a new lease on life!

Using Leftovers to Make a Hearty Vegan Soup - Luminous Vegans

This hearty vegan soup was made out of an assortment of odds and ends from our fridge. Personalize it to use up your food stuffs. The recipe is simple. In less than an hour, I was able to curl up in lounge-y clothes on the couch with this piping hot, comforting soup. And I could rest easy that some leftover veggies got a second chance!

Cleanin’ Out the Fridge Vegan Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 6 cups of vegan stock (I used the same no-chicken stock base that I used in my no-chicken pot pie)
  • 3/4 of a large tomato + 1 smaller roma tomato, both roughly chopped
  • 2 russet potatoes cut into chunks, skins on
  • 4 small carrots cut into coins
  • 4 kale leaves ripped into random pieces
  • 2 cups of leftover cooked mish-mash (ours included black beans, jasmine rice, and some Beyond Meat Not-Chicken cubes)
  • oil, salt and pepper

Directions

Sautee the garlic and the onion for 3-5 minutes on medium heat until softened. Add the stock. Then add the tomatoes, potatoes and carrots. Bring it to a boil and then let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Next add the kale leaves and let simmer for 5 more minutes. Finally add the leftover mish-mash and simmer for another 5-10 minutes making sure the potatoes and carrots are tender. The tomatoes should have broken down almost completely giving the broth a flavorful tomatoe-y edge. Taste the broth and add salt, pepper and any other spices as desired!

Using Leftovers to Make a Hearty Vegan Soup - Luminous Vegans

Even though I’ve included a recipe, the idea behind the soup is to just use what ya got to make a hearty meal! The timing of when you throw stuff in isn’t super important. Just know that stuff that doesn’t really need to be cooked can be thrown in at the end. And stuff that needs to be cooked well and tender should be thrown in at the beginning. This make a good bit of soup. It gets even heartier, thicker and tastier the next day as the veggies soak up liquid and all the flavor melds together. The pics above were taken the day after I made the soup.

How do you use your leftover mish-mash?

29 thoughts on “Using Leftovers to Make a Hearty Vegan Soup

  1. janae @ bring joy

    I too hate wasting food! Not just for the money factor (which hurts–food isn’t cheap!), but also I hate thinking of the “poor, starving children” (seriously). Soup is such a great way (& I MUCH prefer it over leftovers thrown into a casserole). Lovely, frugal idea!

    Reply
  2. Shannon Y-I-V

    I love the “kale leaves ripped into random pieces”, haha. A technique I’m quite fond of :). This soup is a major upgrade over what usually happens to our leftover veggies (think compost or the grossest smoothies ever). next week we will try your strategy!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Isn’t ripping kale into random pieces a culinary technique? It should be :-) I totally laughed at the “grossest smoothie ever” comment. I’ve made plenty of those without even at the beginning of the week when we have all the produce because I kinda suck at green smoothies.

      Reply
  3. Kylie - FotV

    I usually do this too at the end of the week, throw whatever leftovers I have into some sort of weird meal concoction. Sometimes the results are fantastic and other times you just have to kind of struggle through, because you know, wasting food sucks. Your soup looks really tasty though!!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Ha ha! Yes, for every “hit” of leftover concoction there can be a “miss”. Soup seems to result in more hits though. Even with the misses it ain’t too bad because you know you’re doing good by not wasting the food.

      Reply
  4. acookinthemaking

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve made a mish-mash soup like this! It’s pretty fun to throw it all together and see what happens, but at the end of the day a base of garlic, onions, and stock can’t be wrong.

    Reply
  5. sarojinididi

    Brilliant post- it’s great to discourage food waste with positive and practical.suggestions. My leftovers day is usually Saturday. I am like a zombie on Saturday mornings after a week at work and this kind of soup is what I usually make for lunch. With a few good herbs/ spices (and sometimes a can of coconut milk or some dal if there are no beans) it’s amazing how good odds and ends will taste! I usually make some soda bread to go with the soup- another very quick and easy thing to make with storecupboard ingredients. I also often use my food processor to do the chopping, throw everything in the pressure cooker and get the kids to wash up afterwards ;)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Oh, I am definitely going to have to try adding in a coconut milk and some dal next time. We always have those on hand and that just sounds like would add such a creamy loveliness to it.

      I always forget that the food processor can chop too!

      Reply
  6. Andrea

    Your soup looks wonderfully warm and delicious, but what I’m really impressed with is you actually wrote down the recipe! That’s where I’ve been failing lately. I just can’t seem to make myself measure and write it down anymore. I love to throw soup together from leftovers — and also burgers. Made some great burgers from leftover Ethiopian veggies today — from a recipe.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thanks Andrea! I hear ya about writing down recipes and measuring. It’s become this weird habit now for me. There is a notebook that I keep in the kitchen with a pen attached and I just jot down stuff when I cook. I don’t do it for every meal certainly, but I try to do it as much as I can.

      Reply
  7. rika@vm

    I love using leftovers from the fridge to make something…soups, fried rice, noodle soups, or even pasta. Mmmmm your leftover veggie soup looks fantastic! I just got back Argentina two days ago..and I leave for Philly on Tuesday….and I realized there are few things to finish in the fridge – so I think a leftover soup would be a great idea ;) especially for the chilly days in Oregon!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Oh, yes! Leftovers are also great for fried rice too. In fact, day old rice is the best for that as it is a little drier. I’ll have to experiment with using leftovers with pasta too.

      Can’t believe you’re jetting off again after having just got back! Have a good trip!

      Reply
  8. sarah@thesweetlife

    Everything but the kitchen sink soup, love it! I usually run to random vegetable stir fry when my leftovers are threatening spoilage. It’s kind of a sad way to end the week, I agree. But that’s why Jason and I have a tradition of going out to breakfast every saturday and making up for our sad Friday night dinners.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I think that’s a great tradition. Sad meals followed by happy meals! I used to loooove eating out ALL the time and eating leftovers would have been icky to me. But I love not wasting food now. I’ve become very frugal as I get older.

      Reply
  9. coconutandberries

    I refuse to throw away ANY food! I love this idea and actually love leftovers. If it’s “composed” leftovers I usually just put a plate together with all the little bits and bobs. As for sad veggies, I tend to bung them in a big bowl and whip up a good dressing to toss them with. I do meal plan so I don’t often have any stray veg.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Yay for food savers! I need to get down with meal planning more…one day. I just get too excited with all the produce at the markets and I end up deviating from any planned list.

      Reply
  10. Hannah (BitterSweet)

    Leftover soup is the best because it’s already half-way cooked before you begin, if you can think about it that way. Definitely my most common approach for re-purposing leftovers, too. Everything goes well in some soup or stew, no matter what you have!

    Reply
  11. Cadry's Kitchen

    I always feel so satisfied when I finish off all of the odds and ends in my refrigerator. I hate wasting food. When I was a kid, I’d throw away the other half of a sandwich or quarter cup of broccoli left on my plate. But now it goes back into a Pyrex for use later. Many times I’m happy to just eat the few spoonfuls that are left when I feel a little peckish at 3 pm, but it’s too early to make dinner. Just a few bites of something can hold my hunger off for a bit.

    I’d say the main way I use leftovers is by putting them into a tofu scramble. It makes for a quicker-cooking scramble, and you only need smaller tastes of a few things like roasted or sautéed vegetables, leftover beans, or the last bits of seitan in the package to make a really good scramble.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Yes, I hate to waste food these days. I’ve become much more frugal as I get older. I did exactly as you describe the other day. I had tofu scramble leftover (just a few bites) so I tucked it in the shell of a half eaten avocado. Perfect pre-dinner snack! Leftovers for tofu scramble is a great idea and something I do often too.

      Reply
  12. chow vegan

    Soup is definitely the way to go for leftovers. Sometimes I’ll do a stir-fry if the veggie isn’t too far gone, it’s easier to hide limp, almost lifeless veggies in soup. :-)

    Reply
  13. Maggie Muggins

    I’m more of a throw everything together in a pan and fry it kind of girl but I’m liking this throw it in pot idea, especially to cover up the limpness. I’ve also resorted to kitchen sink salads on days I’m too lazy to heat things.

    Reply

Leave a comment (no login required)