The best super adaptable soup recipe to use what you have in the fridge.
Ok, confession time. I am a horrible recipe follower. It’s almost like I see it as a challenge how *much* I can bend the rules and still produce something edible. And, I actually get a little upset when my laissez-faire attitude doesn’t produce spectacular results. Really. I don’t know what my problem is, I was probably even more of a rebel in a former life – but I look at a recipe and think, I see what you’re doing here, but all I have is a block of cheese, cauliflower and some butter, so I am going to make it with that.
This is not to say that I consider myself a good cook. That honor definitely did not fall in my lap … but I can bake bread, pastries, and most food categories pretty well, can feed my family of seven most days with something homemade and relatively healthy.
Bonus: I am a substitution QUEEN. So this adaptable soup recipe is truly right up my alley. It’s so perfect, I don’t think you could do anything to it to ruin it. Literally. And this week, when we are eating up all our food, worried about what the grocery store may have in stock, and in the middle of a blizzard on the first day of spring (!!) – it was PERFECT.
Why so perfect? Well, I was able to sub so many ingredients for what I had on hand, and all my people practically licked the bowl clean. I will write the recipe as I made it, and offer up all the multitude of substitutions for those of you who are daredevils like me.
Let’s talk substitutions a bit.
Most of the time I keep things in the same food category, or more often, will look at a recipe, and edit the ingredients to healthier options. Sometimes this leaves me with unsatisfied peeps (last night when I tried to make bread with a mixture of coconut & almond flour – no bueno!) but most of the time, my fam doesn’t even realize I have altered that heaping amount of sugar in a recipe for monk fruit – or edited soy sauce in a marinade for aminos.
Really it is about stepping back from the old options and opening your eyes to new ingredient standards that are healthier and provide more nutrients to our bodies – with the same yummy results. (Sorry coconut/almond flour, we may need to break up for a bit. I’d like to say it me, not you, but I’m pretty sure it’s you, and I just need some space.)
Are you a bread baker?
A loaf of crusty sourdough bread would be perfect with this soup recipe. If you haven’t starting sourdoughing yet, this is a great time to start. Keeping fresh baked sourdough in the house isn’t hard, in fact it’s SIMPLE. But it does take a little planning. Check our our sourdough basics HERE.
Don’t you hate it when there’s so much chatter before getting down to the actual recipe? Sorry about that … onto the adaptable soup recipe!
Adaptable Soup Recipe
- crock pot
- stock pot
- 4 cups broth (vegetable, mushroom, chicken, beef – your preference)
- 3 tablespoons oil (grapeseed, olive, avocado, even grass-fed butter or ghee)
- 1½ chopped onion (the only reason this is one and a half, is because I had an extra 1/2 in the fridge – onions are good for you! The more the merrier as far as I am concerned)
- 6 cloves garlic (I really wanted to say twelve, but I am being reasonable for your benefit)
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 4 large carrots, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, chopped ] (again, leftovers from a previous dinner side that needed to be eaten)
- 2 beefsteak tomatoes, diced (can be substituted with a can of diced tomatoes)
- 3 yellow potatoes, cubed (can sub with squash, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes)
- 1 pound ground beef (can sub with bison, turkey, mushrooms, chicken, or even some barley or pasta if you wanted)
- You’ll need a stock pot and a slow cooker for this recipe. It could also be adapted to the instant pot I am sure, I can try that next time and edit the recipe in the future. You don’t have to use the slow cooker either – just begin and end in the stock pot, your choice, honestly depending on time.
- First, let’s chop our veggies. Prepping ahead of time makes this soup actually whip up easier, and without the opportunity for some of the veggies to get crispy while you are distracted. So, chop up the onion, garlic, carrot, celery for starters. For all of you risk-takers like me, you can recognize these (four) three (onion, celery, carrot) as a basic soup starter trio. Throwing in the garlic because we all need garlic, just adds a bit more punch to the overall flavor of the soup. Once these four have been chopped, you can add your oil to your pot, and start your burner on medium heat.
- Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic to the pot to begin to soften and sauté. Chop your tomatoes and add. Now, you can check your fridge for other additions, and get those ready to add as well. Mushrooms, peppers, leeks, cauliflower, even spinach would be great additions to this soup. Everything should be chopped and added to the stock pot once your initial veggies begin to get a little bit softened and fragrant. Add salt and pepper (to taste).
- Once all the veggies have been a little bit ‘loved’ in the pot – add the mixture to your crock pot/slow cooker. Add the broth/stock to the veggies as well.Chop the potatoes and add those to the crock pot.
- Use the same stock pot and brown the meat (no need to rinse the pot!). I imagine you could add some chicken breast to the veggie mixture and allow to cook all day, shred and replace in the pot if you preferred. I used ground beef because that’s what we had, and it matched wonderfully with all the veggies in the pot. Once the meet is browned, add to the crockpot, stir and set for 5-6 hours on low.
- *If skipping the crockpot, and making solely in your stock pot, once the meat is browned, return the veggies and broth/stock to the pot and allow to simmer for 45 minutes or until potatoes are softened.