Lentil Vegetable Soup + Decreasing Food Waste

Part of the reason I love soup so much is because it doesn’t really require a recipe. I can confidently say I am not the most talented recipe curator – too much measurement. My favorite meals and moments are throwing things together in a pot or blender or pan and just seeing what happens. This soup is something that happened. And the best part? Made entirely from leftovers. I lied, there’s another best part. I took a little poll and asked how other people make use of food parts that are traditionally thrown out. Got some pretty amazing material, including a little anecdote about feeding a stray raccoon? Weird. Just how I like it. Catch it all below!

What you’ll need:

Step 1:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 celery bunch, diced
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/4 tsp garlic
  • 7-8 cups vegetable broth (bought or homemade)
  • 1.5 cups lentils
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and chopped into medium sized chunks
  • 1 pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 2 bay leaves
  • spices: rosemary, salt, pepper, basil (shakes of each, to taste)

What you’ll do:

  1. Saute celery and onions in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic in a large pot.
  2. Add 5 cups vegetable broth, diced carrots, and 1.5 cups lentils to the pot. Let simmer for a half hour.
  3. Add peeled and chopped potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, fire roasted tomatoes, pinto beans, bay leaves, spices, and remaining broth to the pot. Bring to a boil and let simmer for another half hour, or until vegetables are tender.


10 Ways to Decrease Food Waste:

  1. Take the scraps of vegetables and turn them into a broth.
  2. Move older products to the front of the fridge, and newer purchases to the back.
  3. Instead of making something new, one night per week try making dinner out of only things you have on hand.
  4. Leave the skins on certain vegetables, e.g. potatoes and cucumbers
  5. Cook with the stems rather than tossing them, like with broccoli and cauliflower
  6. If something is about to go bad, can, freeze, sugar, salt, or pickle it!
  7. “I use the food scraps leftover from juicing to make what my cookbook calls “‘zero waste bites’: mix all the scraps together with an egg (or two-depending how much you have), add some spices, form the mixture into patties, and pan fry them in the oil of your choice to make delicious homemade veggie burgers.” –@kcott55
  8. “I basically freeze everything going bad to use for smoothies.” –@east.coast.avocado
  9. “Most of the ends that I chop off my veggies end up getting replanted. So much waste that usually ends up in the garbage can actually yield new food. Just chop a few inches from th ends and plant in water or soil depending on what the fruit/veggie is. I currently have two heads of lettuce, a few celery stalks, cilantro, and some green onions going strong. Anything I can’t grow, freeze and use later, or blend into my baking to get in some extra greens ends up in the compost pile, and eventually, fully cycle, fertilizing the food I grow.” –@fitness.inflipflops
  10. “Compost! I secretly take scraps of food I can’t think of how to reuse and leave it outside for the critter visitors we get (don’t tell my neighbors, I feel bad because the poor things have to eat too!) — there’s a little possum family that’s made refuge somewhere near our complex and also raccoons on occasion.” –@kaleismybloodtype

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4 Responses

  1. Would red lentils work for this recipe? I can’t tell which kind you’ve used! 🙂 Looks delicious. And a great way to use up those extra ingredients I have laying around. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Dana! Yes, definitely. I used brown lentils, which have a similar cook time to red lentils. It’s a great way to just throw everything in a pot and see what happens!

  2. Hi Katie! So I first started following you on instagram, but now I am an avid blog reader as well 🙂
    Anyway! I was wondering what your opinion is on all the different lentils and so on.. I have tried to research about them, but it is still hard to know.
    Thank you!

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