I’ve always thought vegetable soup is a little boring and too watery for my taste. I generally avoid it if vegetable soup is an option when I go out to eat. And because I’ve never actually eaten good vegetable soup, I’ve never tried to make it.
Until a few weeks ago.
When we were packing up our house to move a few weeks ago, my goal was to eat through all of the food we had in the fridge. I hated the idea of throwing away perfectly good food.
I always feel this way, honestly. Instead of using up what we have, often I’ll think “what do I want to eat?”
Now, there’s nothing actually wrong with this.
But, I also want to learn to be more efficient with what I buy and use everything, or as much as I can. It’s more cost effective that way. It’s also less wasteful of the resources I have and choose to use.
I also like the idea of being more creative and coming up with new ways of using the food we have instead of just getting more food. Not everyone has that luxury.
This soup was born out of that creative curiosity.
I had some extra acorn squash, lots of sweet potato, and leftover cabbage from the Heartbeet Soup I’d made earlier that week. Oh, and I had some random celery in the fridge that we’d never used. most of it had gotten a little funky, but a few small stalks on the inside were still good. Plus I had some leftover homemade veggie broth, too. I liked the idea of an acorn squash/sweet potato soup. The idea grew from that little seed into a delicious meal.
I could not have been happier with the result.
Because it’s a “Clean Out Your Fridge” Vegetable Soup, think of this recipe as an opportunity to be creative with your own veggies. Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato work really beautifully here, but you could use other veggies. Just giving you permission to keep your options open here.
Definitely try my recipe, though, if you happen to have some unused acorn squash and sweet potato on hand. You won’t regret it. Promise! It was a hit in my house. My 22-month old son and my very picky husband both loved it. My 5 year old didn’t, but to be fair to my soup, she didn’t even try it.
Oh and I served this with barley. Highly recommend. Fantastic chewy compliment to a more broth-y soup!
Clean Out Your Fridge Vegetable Soup:
1 Tbs coconut oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 small cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, scrubbed and diced
2 cups sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3 cups acorn squash, cut into 1 inch chunks
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup cabbage sliced thinly (extra thick pieces removed)
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can)
2-3 cups lacinto kale, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp pepper
salt to taste
2/3 cup barley plus enough water to cover by 1/2 inch
Cook the barley in the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered until barley is plump with water. Approximately 40 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add in the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cooking for another minute, then add in the celery and carrots. Stir well, cooking for about 3 minutes.
Add in the acorn squash and sweet potato. Stir the veggies, combining thoroughly.
Pour in the veg broth, cover and bring to a boil. Toss in the chickpeas and cabbage, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the sweet potato and acorn squash are soft.
Add in the kale, plus the pepper and salt.
Ladle into bowls with the barley and eat it up!
Then have seconds.