Clean-Out-the-Veggie-Drawer Soup with a Don't-Throw-It-Away Secret Ingredient ♥

Clean-Out-Veggie-Drawer Soup
Don't pitch the Parmesan rind!
Today's concept recipe: A quick, easy and flexible way to use up the last bits of vegetables from the vegetable bin, just before the next trip to the farmers market, the next CSA delivery.

So if I told you that this soup costs absolutely ZERO to make, would you believe me? It's true.

You see, we vegetable lovers, we can't help ourselves: when fresh produce is so fresh and beautiful, we buy more than we can ever consume in the few days vegetables stay quite fresh. ("Another eggplant? Sure, isn't it pretty?! And oh, did you see the carrots? We must have a few of those too.") CSA subscribers, I'm told, love getting a new stash of fresh vegetables but feel guilty when some of last week's delivery (and the week's before too?) languishes in the vegetable bin. Too often, we let the vegetables hang around too long, past saving.

This recipe -- one of the "concept recipes" that we all love so much -- is my latest way to "save" all those last bits of vegetables, not gone bad but none-too-fresh either, from the compost pile or the garbage can.

But the secret ingredient? I bet lots of people throw it away too, since it really isn't edible anymore.

What's the secret ingredient? It's the last bit of Parmesan, it's the rind that's the exterior of a wheel of Parmesan, it's what's left once we've sliced and grated off all we can get to. Don't pitch the Parmesan! It adds such flavor to pots of soup, wow, what a difference.

So yes, this soup costs nothing -- because if it didn't get made, all that vegetable and Parmesan goodness would go to waste; because if it didn't get made, we'd be buying fresh food to replace it.

Free food, you gotta love it. Free delicious food? Swoon.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, cut on the diagonal

1 turnip, peeled and cut into cubes
2 carrots, cut into rings
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Vegetable or chicken stock to cover (I use Better Than Bouillon here)
About 4" piece of Parmesan rind
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium high til shimmery. Stir in the onion and celery as they're prepped, stirring to coat with fat. Stir in the turnip, carrot, sweet potato and kidney beans as they are prepped. Stir occasionally, don't be afraid to let the pieces get some color. Add the stock and Parmesan rind, then bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat to maintain a slow simmer, let simmer until the vegetables are done, about 20 minutes. Season to taste, serve and savor!

Let the onion and celery get quite golden, even get a little "burn" on the edges. This is the trick for developing flavor for something that's cooked this quickly.
The kidney beans add great texture and color contrast -- and protein.

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic

~ Clean-Out-the-Fridge Noodle Bowl ~
~ Clean-Out-the-Fridge Purée ~
~ Mom's Favorite Leftover Magic ~
~ more "leftover magic" recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Saturday Soup ~
~ more recipes for using up leftovers ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2011

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Alanna ~ This looks totally scrumptious and healthy too! Three of my favorite ingredients: simple, tasty and healthy. Who doesn't love soup?

    I'm like you. Tears roll down my eyes when something spoils and I have to toss it into the compose bin. It's like I just killed an old friend!

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. I make a similar don't pitch it, clean out the drawer with the last bit of spaghetti or tomato sauce, cilantro, a little beef better than bouillon, any leftover cooked beans and whatever else I can find. It's the best for lunches!

  3. Nice idea with the parm rind! I've never thought of that, but I'll definitely try it next time :)

  4. AnonymousMay 24, 2011

    cooking instructions?

  5. Anonymous - Good catch -- and I'm so sorry. I think the instructions must have been dropped with all of Blogger's technical issues in the last 10 days. They've been adding/restoring code so anything "in process" (like this would have been) would be messed up. I had to redo much of today's post too. Thanks for the eagle eyes!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna