This is one of the world’s great soups. Basically it’s a soup made of whatever vegetables are on hand, with some starch like rice or pasta added in. This is not the kind of dish that sends you to the grocery store to carefully collect your ingredients. Instead it is meant to absorb any leftovers as well as rotate pantry (stored food) items into your diet. For example, here’s how I made it today.

Add to pot: garlic or garlic tops, carrot tops, onion skins, and any celery tops or lovage you have on hand. Cover with water, bring to a boil, simmer for up to an hour. Strain spent vegetables out of the pot and place in compost or yard waste bin.

Fresh vegetables:
Clean out the vegetable drawer – I used new onions and Wyckels Farm turnips. I ran across a web recipe that called for frozen veggies on the grounds that it’s too hard to chop them. You can chop your veggies, yes? It took me three minutes on my lunch hour – don’t worry about how even they are, do a rough chop and toss them in.

Frozen vegetables:
Today’s contributions were frozen tomatoes and frozen corn. I’m trying to clean out the freezer to make room to put up this year’s produce.

You can pretty much use any spices you want. The Mediterranean spices would be traditional, thyme, oregano, parsley. For this soup I used paprika for a bit of a kick, cumin for a savory edge, and salt.

Pantry ingredients:
Pasta, in this case a leftover bit of macaroni. Beans: any beans will do, garbanzo beans or chickpeas are more or less traditional, and I like to add red kidney beans also. I used organic Northwest canned beans. I also added powdered chicken base but it would have been a fine soup without it.

Add everything except the pasta to a pot or slow cooker. Simmer until the flavors are melded. Add the macaroni when the soup is nearly ready as the pasta only takes 10-15 minutes to cook.

Serve with fresh bread and salad. I made this in a slow cooker on a night when all of us were off to different meetings and had to eat at different times – it held up until we each got a chance to eat it. Seasonal, tasty, filling, and economical!

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