Monday, October 1, 2012

Vegan MoFo 2012

Bits & Pieces

Motivated by my own disorganization and guilt over the many expired fruits and veggies that hit the garbage can without ever having left their supermarket wrapping, I have decided to focus on not only buying less and cooking more from my pantry and fridge, but utilizing the "Bits & Pieces" that remain from the dishes I do manage to produce in new, hopefully inventive ways.   

Some common Bit & Pieces that often remain in our house are the ends of bread loaves, halves of onions, peppers, the cored ends of tomatoes, not-enough-to-make-an-entire-bowl, end-of-the-box cereal bits, cooked rice, grains, not-quite-a-full-serving of frozen fruits and vegetables, nuts, dried fruit,  a lone carrot or two, a half of bagel, a swirl of vegan cream cheese or butter from the bottom of the container.  In a house of five thoughtful people no one wants to take the last of anything, but the bit that remains is not usually enough to do anything with on its own.  My goal here is to come up with some staples using these tasty dregs.  The most common sense thing to do with these items would be to throw them in a soup or stew, and the first recipe I will share is for a quick, flavorful Vegetable Soup.  Perhaps not the most imaginative, but definitely worth your while.  I'm not sure what it is about this soup, but it is on the short list of dishes that all five of us love; my omnivorous husband, my vegetarian children, (from teen to toddler), and me.

Bits & Pieces Vegetable Soup


1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 Clove Garlic
1 Large Zucchini, peeled if not organic, sliced in half lengthwise and then into half moons
1 Large Carrot, peeled and sliced
1 Large Potato, any kind, peeled and diced
1 28 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes
6 Cups Vegetable Broth
1/4 any small pasta or grain (dry)
1 Can Favorite Beans, Rinsed and Drained (Kidney Beans, Garbanzo, Small White Beans, Edamame all work well)
1/2 Tsp. Salt, more to taste
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
1 tsp. dried Basil
1 tsp. dried Marjoram


I had a bit of fresh parsley left from my garden so I chopped it and added it as well.

This is the perfect soup to add leftover fresh diced tomatoes (use the bits around the cores).

Any favorite and/or leftover vegetable bits can be used in roughly the same quantities as the above vegetables.

If you have leftover cooked pasta or grains add them in toward the end of cooking so they don't overcook and/or absorb too much liquid.

I often use Alphabet pasta as I have a toddler and Alphabet pasta is cute, but any small pasta will do.In the photo above I've used pastina.

When my youngest was even younger I would make this soup but dice all the veggies for safety and crush his serving of beans.


Saute the onion and garlic in a 1 tablespoon of olive oil or 1/4 of water or broth until soft.

Add prepared vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add Tomatoes & Broth and bring to a boil.

Add Pasta or Grain and Cook until tender according to type.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer until all vegetables are tender.

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