I hate wasting food. HATE it! It’s hard when you are first learning how to cook because unless you take the time to painstakingly meal plan, you end up with miss-matched food that you don’t know what to do with. So you just ignore it until it turns some unnatural color and you eventually throw it away. Sound familiar? It’s worse when your a vegetarian too because vegetables go bad so quickly. I always felt guilty buying broccoli and kale because I felt like I was throwing away half of what I bought due to the stalks. Until I learned this fun little trick during my Whole Foods challenge. Our instructor (if that is what you would call her…) said to chop up the stems and save them in a reserve baggie in your freezer. They actually have tons of nutritional value. When you don’t have anything planned for dinner one night you can whip up a fabulous vegetable soup! And to think, all these years I was throwing away all that vitamin-packed goodness! Oh, the horror!
Anyways, the other night, when we had nothing planned for dinner and our fridge was looking exceptionally bare, I decided it was veggie soup time! It turned out SOOOO much better than I expected! You can certainly substitute different veggies depending on what you like or what you have on hand – another big plus to this recipe! Enjoy!
Garden Vegetable Soup (Adapted from Alton Brown)
Prep Time: 30 minutes, Cook Time: 45 minutes. Yields 8 servings
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 C chopped leeks, white part only
- 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
- kosher salt
- 2 C carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds
- 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cans of diced peeled, tomatoes (14.5 oz cans)
- 2 C frozen corn kernels
- 2 C frozen green beans (instead I used the bag of frozen stalks I mentioned)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 C packed, chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium-low heat. Add leeks, garlic, and a pinch of salt and sweat until softened.
2. Add carrots and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. (mine were a bit crunchier than I would have liked so I suggest maybe boiling them first)
3. Add the stock, increasing heat to high. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add tomatoes, corn, green beans, and pepper.
4. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are fork tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Serve immediately.