Manic Monday: Restorative Remnant Soup

Any colorful leftover veggies will do.
Plonk all your leftover bits in the pan, add your favorite spices and water, and cook 5-10 minutes until all soft and hot.

Recipe: Colorful Leftover Soup

Get a helping hand from Better than Bouillon, or simply use spices you have at home.
  • Chop a handful of a few of your tired, leftover veggies & beans from the weekend. Haggard and helpless haricots are welcome! Any bean will do fine.
  • Load into a small pot with 3-4 cloves chopped garlic & cover with water by about an two inches.
  • Add a tablespoon of stock paste like Better than Boullion, or a cube of veggie stock of your choice.
  • Sprinkle in a teaspoon of the spice you crave: curry for heat, tarragon for a french flavor, oregano for mediterranean taste. Hot chili anyone?
  • Bring to simmer for 10 minutes and serves piping hot for restorative relief.
  • Remember this spicy slogan: explore to restore!


Chicagoland, we will not be brought to our knees by the cold! Let’s hunker down, do what we do best, and dig deep into our roots to restore ourselves body and soul. One baby step toward your worn out veggie drawer in your fridge may be all the impetus required to recognize the colorful life!

You all may recognize by now that I don’t think much of haute cuisine, fancy restaurants, or relying too much on ready-made food. This is not an act of food snobbery. I simply believe passionately that the act of cutting, chopping, smelling and seeing the colors in vegetables remains one of the most restorative acts of my day. I wouldn’t want to live without it in any meaningful way. I am e-veg-alist!

I am not talking about eating vegetables in any sort of legalistic way. I am not talking about becoming vegan, though I do love vegan food. Even as a vegan eater, I can easily fall short on veggie variety. I get restored at the chopping board!

Seeing, smelling and feeling the colors my body deeply desires in the depth of sub-zero winter helps balance out a pile of monotonous mountain of white pasta, bread, potatoes & rice. Cheerful, colorful vegetables give me hope for the hues of spring to emerge again one day. Using veggie remnants also means cheap chops, and no need to shop.

Coming to the chopping board is similar to the feeling of coming to the yoga mat. You know it’s gonna make you feel better, you know your body needs it, but it’s so hard to do something so good for you. I don’t know why that is, but I do know that “choppers block” is a bit like writers block. Sometimes all you need is a commitment to show up.

So let’s head on over to our tired and weary vegetable bins in our fridge. Take those sad looking bits of worn out red cabbage, wilting green leaves and shoots, and shriveled up mushrooms, or whatever else you have. Chop up a trio or quartet into small pieces and let them sing to you in harmony as each spoonful samples the group.

Use your lunchtime or supper to explore your spice rack and see which ones you like the best. Since you are making the most of some veggies you might otherwise have tossed in the trash, you can afford to be a mad scientist and try spices out! What does that fennel taste like? What was the flavor of tarragon again? Try one at a time to get to know each spice when you make a soup. Or mix them up and get to know how they interact.

Any way you slice it, you can add a nice cup or two of beans and maybe a bit of heat with hot chili pepper, or a swizzle of soy sauce or vinegar. Heat the whole batch through, and restore your body and your bank balance with this simple, leftover soup.


The way to know life is to love many things.

-Vincent Van Gogh



  1. Reading this is making me hungry


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.