Ever heard of Kitchen Sink Soup? Kitchen sink soup is a great way to stretch your food budget and reduce food waste!
It’s a simple idea – take whatever ingredients you have in your fridge (aka – everything but the kitchen sink) and throw them all into a large stock pot. Add some water and heat it up.
Voila! A tasty meal. Mmmmmmm!
Table of Contents
- A Non-Recipe Recipe
- Prevent Food Waste
- Magically Turn Food Waste into Food
- Soup Sock Magic + Kitchen Sink Soup = Nutritional Powerhouse
A Non-Recipe Recipe
I love a non-recipe recipe that allows me to get creative with ingredients within general guidelines that ensure you end up with a great result every time.
Kitchen Sink Soup is the perfect non-recipe soup recipe and it delivers every time!
If a non-recipe recipe is not for you and you are looking for a more traditional soup recipe, check out our post French Onion Soup : Authentic Flavors from Paris to Your Table!
Prevent Food Waste
Kitchen sink soup is a great way to use up leftover veggies from your nutritious salad or when you accidentally buy too many and you don’t want them to go bad. It’s also a great way to use up frozen vegetables if you’re trying to clean out your freezer (delicious soup can be a great incentive when trying to talk yourself into this less than exciting task).
If you have leftover pasta or rice in your fridge throw those in too to make an even heartier soup.
All in all, kitchen sink soup is a great way to turn potential food waste into a large stockpot of delicious and filling soup. I hate throwing way food and I hate spending money on food I don’t use even more. This soup hack can help prevent both while providing a quick, easy, delicious and nutritious meal!
Magically Turn Food Waste into Food
This all sounds pretty great so far. BUT it get’s better!
My kitchen sink soup goes even further than preventing food waste, it also magically turns waste into food – using one very simple kitchen gadget! And it’s not gross – I promise!
Whenever we prep food, we are inevitably left with food scraps that don’t get used. All of the food scraps we throw in the garbage or compost has significant nutritional value.
What do I mean by food scraps? Think:
the tough ends of asparagus
The root ends of green onion, fennel, celery
chicken, pork, steak bones
pepper tops and spines
the ends of green beans
Even when it comes to expensive cuts of meat or your favorite vegetables, prepping always leaves some waste that just can’t be prevented.
All of these bits of waste can be easily turned into a delicious soup stock/broth that will level up the flavor and nutritional value of your kitchen sink soup – or any other soup recipe really!
All you need is a soup sock!
That’s Right a Soup Sock!
A soup sock is a cotton mesh bag that allows your soup stock to suck up all the flavor and nutritional value of your food scraps while leaving your broth clear. Simply fill your soup sock with your scraps and place it in a large stock pot full of water and let it simmer for 1-2 hours. The longer you leave it in, the more of the flavor and nutrition from the meat and vegetables will be transferred to your stock. You can also use your soup sock in a instant pot. This will give you a rich, flavorful, nutrient filled broth in a shorter amount of time!
You can fill your sock with vegetables only or you can combine vegetable scraps with leftover meat and bones to make a broth rich in both vegetable nutrients and the protein and collagen we get from meat and bones.
My Favorite Food Scrap Soup Sock Recipe is Super Simple
Celery root and/or fennel root (whatever I have on hand)
Whatever is leftover from a the full rotisserie I tend to buy every week from the grocery store
onion skins and leftover, unused onion bits
Throw it all in the sock. Throw the sock in the pot. Simmer to your heart’s desire. Done!
Tips for Using a Soup Sock
1) I like to save scraps for a week or two (sealing them in the fridge or freezer) and then make a big batch of broth all at once. You can use more than one soup sock if you need. This way I can separate and use it for any soup or stew recipes over the next few weeks. You can even use it for cooking quinoa or rice, making these simple grains extra delicious and more nutritionally balanced. Souper Cubes are an ingenious and convenient way to store this liquid gold in your freezer, ready to pop out in pre-portioned cubes whenever you need it!
2) Don’t over-stuff the food sock. You want your meat and/or vegetables to come into as much contact with the water as possible to maximise flavor and nutrition transfer. Use 2 or more socks if needed.
3) Invest in a large stockpot that will allow you make large amounts of at a time. It’s a worthwhile investment that will save you money in the long run!
4) Most soup socks can be re-used. I clean and re-use soup socks in the same way as cheese cloth. Once you’ve removed your food sock from the pot and emptied the scraps into the garbage or compost, rinse your sock thoroughly and/or let it soak in water and dish soap for a while. Once thoroughly rinsed, hang it on your faucet or kitchen towel rack to dry. Once it’s dry, throw it in your laundry hamper and wash them up with your towels.
Soup Sock Magic + Kitchen Sink Soup = Nutritional Powerhouse
Making kitchen sink soup with your ‘food waste’ broth results in a soup recipe that is full of a wide variety of nutrients that would otherwise be impossible to fit into one meal.
In addition to reducing waste, saving money and packing a mean nutritional punch, kitchen sink soup is a great go-to when you want something hearty but don’t want to spend too much time cooking. With your soup base ready to go, you can easily have dinner on the table in 30 minutes.
Pair your hearty soup creation with some rustic bread and you have filling and delicious meal that can be great for entertaining because it’s simple enough for kids to help with.
Because this soup tends to be different every time, you’ll also never get bored of it!
Top Tips for Making Kitchen Sink Soup
- Make sure you have everything you need at hand before you start cooking. Raid your fridge, freezer or pantry for anything you need to use up or that is threatening to go bad.
- Heat olive oil or another oil on medium heat and saute your leftover vegetables, chopped onions, etc. a bit before adding your liquid. This will help release more of the flavor and aromatics
- Add your stock/liquid, bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Don’t forget about the spices! They add flavor and help make the dish more interesting. Add salt, ginger, onion flakes, garlic powder, Old Bay, or your favorite spices. I always finish my soup with a splash of lemon juice and some grated Parmesan (fresh or dried) – This is my last step before serving.
- You’ll want to keep an eye on the liquid level while you cook. Adding too much water will dilute the flavors in your soup.
- Simmer your soup until your veggies are soft but not mushy
- Leftover rice, pasta or a couple chopped potatoes make for a hearty and filling soup
- Add protein for an even more filling meal. Leftover chicken, ground beef, or steak are all great options. For a vegan alternative, white beans go well with this recipe – easily taking on all of the other delicious flavors you’ve added
- When serving, try to avoid having bowls that are taller than they are wide. The soup should look like a single layer.
- Serve hot, immediately after removing from the stove top. Leftover soup tends to separate over time.
Examples Kitchen Sink Soup Ingredients for Inspiration
- Chopped onion
- Leftover Chicken
- Cooked Rice
- Frozen Peas
- Green Beans
- Bay Leaves
- Can Corn Kernels
- Cream Cheese
- Frozen Spinach
- Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Bell Peppers
- Crumbled Sausage
- Mixed Frozen Veggies