Zero-Waste Vegetable Soup

As we find ourselves stuck inside, many of you are cooking more than usual. I am here to help you navigate what is currently in your pantry and fridge and turn it into something tasty. This particular recipe focuses on using up vegetables that are past their prime in an attempt to prevent wasting perfectly good food and turning it into something delicious. There are really no rules to this recipe. Feel free change up most, if not all of the ingredients based on what you have. The key is to use up produce or items that will potentially go to waste in the next day or so. The key to starting off any good soup is your mirepoix, or mixture of sauteed chopped vegetables. A typical mirepoix consists of chopped onion, carrot, and celery that is sauteed in some kind of fat (butter, oil, etc.) with salt to help release water from the vegetables. For this recipe, I only had carrot and onion, which is just fine. Feel free items such as spinach, kale, cauliflower and/or any frozen or fresh vegetable you have on hand. Like I said, no rules!

Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped
Chopped carrots, about 1 ½ to 2 cups
8 cloves of garlic; 4 for roasting and 4 minced directly into soup
Fresh tomatoes of any kind (I had a cherry tomato mixture) or 1, 15 oz can of tomatoes
64 oz (8 cups) of stock of choice (vegetable, chicken, turkey, etc.)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of sambal oelek (optional)
1 can of beans of your choice (I used garbanzo beans)
8 oz (1 cup) dried pasta of your choice
Handful of fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 425℉.

In a large kettle or dutch oven, melt butter and saute onion and carrot until just soft. Add a couple pinches of salt to help draw water out of the vegetables. When mirepoix is soft, add minced garlic, bay leaves, and other seasonings and continue to saute for 1-2 minutes. Add in stock and bring the soup to a simmer.

Chop tomatoes in half and place on a sheet pan with 4 cloves of garlic. Toss with olive oil, season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for about 10-12 minutes until tomatoes and garlic are soft. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, blend with a food processor or blender until you have a smooth paste. Add to soup and continue to let soup simmer for 20 minutes.

Please note: The step above is optional. You do not need to roast fresh tomatoes and garlic to still make this recipe great. Feel free to simply add in a can of tomatoes and mince the rest of your garlic right into your soup. I opted to roast my veggies and create a simple paste. This is not necessary.

Drain and rinse beans and add to soup. Continue to let your soup simmer while you cook your pasta.

In a separate pot, bring about 6 cups of salty water to a boil. Add in a splash of olive oil to keep your pasta from sticking together. Add in dry pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse your pasta under very cold water to help halt the cooking process. Add your pasta into soup and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

Remove bay leaves. Ladle finished soup into a bowl and garnish however you wish. I like to use fresh basil or parsley and parmesan cheese. Serve with toasty, crusty bread.

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