Food waste: a serious drain on my family’s bottom line– as well as a waste of my time/energy. I grocery shop once a week: committing a full weekday morning to this activity. I shop at a minimum of three stores: making the rounds at Aldi’s, Walmart, Shop ‘n Save and occasionally Giant Eagle or a specialty store like The Uncommon Market, if I am in need for a particular spice or exotic ingredient. The amount of fresh fruit and veggies, as well as leftovers that I have to toss into the trash on a weekly basis is a disgrace. This disposal of food is a total waste of money, time and a drain on the environment.
After much thought as to how to reduce the amount of food waste (in this case specifically vegetables) I decided to try a weekly soup. On the day I grocery shop–before I unpack the new, fresh groceries, I gather up all of last week’s unused vegetables and place them on the kitchen counter. Then I proceed to unpack and put away the fresh groceries. After I have everything put away, I take out a soup pot and my ‘old’ vegetables and begin the process of making a soup to accompany that day’s dinner.
Ingredients (what I had on hand):
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 clove of garlic, minced
- 3/4 bag of fresh spinach, chopped
- 2 quarts of chicken stock (I buy no salt added)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 cup quinoa
- Heat oil in soup pot. Add onion, peppers, carrots, celery. Cook until onions are translucent.
- Add in tomatoes and garlic. Add in spices. Cook 2 -3 minutes.
- Cover with broth. Bring to a boil and then cover and turn down to a simmer.
- In a small pot cook quinoa according to package directions.
- After 30 minutes, add in spinach to the soup pot. (Rough chop spinach before adding it to the soup.) Give soup a good stir. Continue to simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes longer.
- Add in quinoa to soup pot. Stir, serve and enjoy.
- Garnish as desired with scallions, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Delicious soup– Satisfying and healthy– I served this with a salad and Italian bread. This soup is versatile; use what is in your crisper drawer/pantry and your imagination to combat the food waste. Examples: use brown rice instead of quinoa, omit spinach, add mushrooms, etc. Feel free to share your tips/tricks/recipes to fighting the ongoing food waste battle.
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