Hello beautiful people,
The title of this post says it all: vegetable leftover soup! It happens to all of us. We go to the grocery store or the farmer’s market and buy all this beautiful produce. We come home, head full of ideas on what to cook/bake for our family during the week. And as the days go by, the basket of colourful carrots is down by half, the cabbage head is shredded to its last quarter, the bunch of kale merely has 2 leafy stems left. You know you don’t want these vibrant vegetables to go to waste (throwing out food that’s gone bad is the worst feeling ever!) and you also know that if you go to the market now, these beauties will hit the back of the fridge in no time. But then again, what to do with them? You could just shred everything and toss it in a salad bowl and call it a day. It would make for a nice refreshing and delicious dinner but you want something more. You want to expand your culinary wings and create something more because you are a chef in your own kitchen. You also want to be practical and spend your time in the kitchen wisely, which means making a meal you can easily bring for lunch the next day. And this is where this soup comes in. It takes care of all those beautiful leftover vegetables, it’s flavourful and it makes enough for you to bring to lunch the next day. Bingo!
Now I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of soups for the longest time. It just didn’t do it for me. Not only did I not consider a bowl of soup a meal (how could a bowl of liquid keep me full!) but I also considered it to be a waste of my stomach space when served before the main meal. It didn’t help that I grew up in the 80’s and soup diets were all the rage (cabbage diet soup anyone?). I would see close relatives eat nothing but soup all day for a week, feeling miserable but holding on because the scale was showing a few dropped pounds. Yah, no thank you. I’ll stick with solid foods.
But then something happened: I went away to University to attend Law School. I no longer had my mom to cook with me or to cook for me when I was pressed for time. I lived in an apartment steps away from campus and really wanted nothing to do with cafeteria food. I had a small kitchen in my apartment and I was determined to keep up with my home cooked healthy meals. Here’s what I hadn’t accounted for: the immense lack of time! Between studying for school and training for triathlons AND fitness competitions, there was barely any time left to cook healthy meals, let alone be creative and inventive in the kitchen. But being able to cook my own meals was important to me so I focused the little time I had on meals that could be easily put together, would make great lunches, wouldn’t put too much of a dent in my pocket book and packed a serious nutrition punch to help me keep up with my crazy schedule. And that is when I made amends with soup.
I realized soup didn’t have to be a diet food. It could be loaded with protein like beans or tempeh, pack a whole day’s worth of vegetable and give me the energy I needed with some added grains. I discovered that soup was also very versatile. I could get creative and feel like a chef again by mixing different spices, vegetables and grains. It also really helped towards the end of the week, when I had no time to shop for food and my fridge looked miserable with only a few leftover pieces of vegetables. Soup became my food companion throughout University.
This recipe is an homage to my University days. The soup is filled with a bunch of leftover vegetables, some split peas for protein and some barley for carbs. If you want to make this soup gluten-free, you could definitely swap the barley for some basmati brown rice or some millet. This soup makes a hearty meal so I simply served it to my family with some rustic french bread for dipping. So delicious!
I hope you guys enjoy this soup and let me know in the comments what you served it with.
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 leek, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 2 Cups cabbage, diced
- 1 Cup turnip, shredded
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp paprika (if you like a little heat, add hot paprika)
- 1 Cup pearl barley
- 1 Cup split peas
- 10 Cups of vegetable broth
- 1 27oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dice, slice, mince and shred your vegetables
- In a large pot, add the olive oil and turn the heat to medium-high.
- Add the onions, garlic and leek. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add all your spices.
- Coat the onion mixture with the spices (except bay leaf) and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir frequently so the spices don’t burn.
- Add the barley and split peas and stir to coat.
- Add the vegetable stock, the can of diced tomatoes and the bay leaf. Stir.
- Cover the pot and increase to hight heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat back to medium-high.
- Simmer for 15 minutes then add the remaining vegetables.
- Bring to a boil again and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste and add the lemon juice.