One of the hazards of being vegan is…
confused stares from other people?
No, the one hazard is…
No, stop! It’s none of those things. Well, OK, it’s a little of all those things. But what I’m talking about is how you always have a lot of leftover vegetables. Maybe you have a CSA with vegetables but no recipe plans. Or maybe you made a recipe, but were left with unused quantities. Or maybe, you were a little over-zealous at the farmer’s market, buying weird looking stuff just for experimentation. (I know! It’s so fun! It happens!)
The point is, you have extra veggies on hand and you don’t want them to rot!
This might be an old-fashioned idea, but why not use them in a vegetable soup? Today, I have a “freestyle” vegetable soup recipe for you. It’s “freestyle,” because you can follow the recipe as printed OR you can freestyle your own soup. Do what you want! It’s YOUR soup. You’re free!
I placed my recipe below, but my advice is: freely substitute ingredients based on what’s around in your kitchen. Here are suggestions:
Substitute white or yellow onion for: leeks, shallots, green onions, red onion.
Substitute celery and carrots for: fennel, cabbage cut into ribbons, bok choy, parsnips, celery root, kohlrabe, white radish.
Substitute white potatoes for: baby red potatoes, baby white potatoes, baking potatoes, yellow potatoes. (You get it, ANY kind of potato! If the skin is decently edible, leave it on. I usually peel baking potatoes for this soup, but I leave the skins on most other varieties. The more fiber, the better, especially with very starchy food.)
Substitute red or white beans: all varieties of cooked beans work here, including garbanzo beans, lentils, pinto beans, etc. Just be careful about black beans, which turn white potatoes blue or purple! The soup will taste just as good, but it will look funny!
Substitute kale for: spinach, chard, baby kale or any greens you got!
Substitute barley for: all pasta including, elbow macaroni, pasta bows, alphabets, spaghetti, large couscous; any kind of grain, including rice of any variety, farro, etc.
Substitute zucchini for: mushrooms, corn, yellow squash, peas, soy beans, lima beans, broccoli, etc.
Serve your soup with hearty bread. I served mine with Roasted Garlic Pull-Apart Bread from Thug Kitchen. Go visit that recipe at your own risk. (The recipe includes explicit language.) Vegans may be familiar with Thug Kitchen, which published two vegan cookbooks so far, the Official Cookbook and the Party Grub book (which I received for Christmas). I recommend these books both for quality content and for humor. I laugh as I cook through every recipe. You’ll have to see for yourself and find out why!
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
- 2 or 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 or 3 carrots, sliced into coins
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
- 2 cups potatoes, cubed
- 1½ cups barley
- 1½ cups cooked white or red beans, any variety
- 1 cup sliced zucchini
- 2 cups kale, ripped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 28 oz. can stewed tomatoes (including the juice)
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper, more to taste
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- In a large stockpot, heat ½ cup water. Cook the onion, celery, carrot and garlic until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, and bring everything to a boil. Lower the temperature to medium and allow to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- Add the canned tomato and the cooked beans.
- When all the vegetables are cooked through, add the barley and cook until softened, about 10 or 20 minutes. (Package directions will tell you how long it takes for the barley to cook. Time will depend on the barley size.)
- Add the salt, pepper, thyme and parsley. Simmer for a few more minutes.
- Just before eating, throw in the kale and zucchini and allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- If at any time, you think the broth is insufficient, add water to the desired soup consistency.
If that does not inspire you, my friend Elaine from foodbod recently did a whole post on vegetable soups, including links to fellow bloggers, all weighing in! In fact, the post makes an excellent vegetable soup resource. (I do love Elaine for bringing us all together!)
Meanwhile, enjoy your Monday. (And don’t be bothered by the stares.)