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  • Writer's pictureMeghan Stock

Reducing food waste through soup

Later this month I am giving a talk to a group who is interested in learning how to reduce food waste (feel free to reach out if you have a group wanting a nutrition-themed talk!).  One of the points I’m going to make is the value of soup.  So, I thought I’d share that little bit of the talk with you today, even though it’s stinking hot outside!


I remember my grandma talking about in her house, when she was growing up, there was always a pot of soup and a pot of tea on the stove, and whenever her brothers or sisters wanted a snack, they’d have a bowl of soup.  It sounded (and still does) like a lovely way to live. 

Bowl of soup

Let's Talk Soup

There are a million recipes for soup, but also the no recipe option.  For today’s purposes, we’re going to focus on the no recipe version, I like to call ‘fridge soup’.


There are a few ways to start your soup, bases if you will.  To ensure a good flavour base to your soup, aim for one of the following:


French – mirepoix – carrots, onion, celery

Italian – soffritto – carrots, onion, celery.  How is this different than mirepoix, you ask?  The French dice the veggies, the Italians mince them. Or, so I’m told.

Spanish – sofrito – onion, tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic.

Germans – suppengrun – carrots, celeriac, leeks

Cajuns – holy trinity – onion, celery, green pepper

Chinese – aromatics – scallions, ginger, garlic

Indian – aromatics – onions, garlic, chillies


I’m sure there’s more, but these are a good start.


Once you have your base flavours, you do you. Add in liquid, a source of protein (meat, beans, lentils), and a starch (rice, potato, noodles). The volume can be whatever you want, you can make a few portions, or enough soup to live through the apocalypse. It’s scalable.  

How does soup help with reducing food waste?

Soup is a tasty way to use up leftovers.  Whenever you have a bit of vegetables, or odds and ends of meat leftover, throw them in a container in the freezer.  Then, you can throw the whole frozen puck in the soup. 


When you’re trimming or peeling your vegetables for a salad, save them.  When you get a decent amount, try cooking them down a little, then blending them into a puree.  You can freeze these into ice cube trays, making your own vegetable bouillon cubes!


If you’re meal planning, consider putting soup on the menu once a week, or once every two weeks to use up the leftovers from your other meals. 


Let me know how it goes - fridge soup is an easy recipe that never tastes the same twice! 

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