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Kitchen Sink Soup

November 3, 2011 by Dean Simmons, Registered Dietitian

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Kitchen Sink Soup

"My grandma, she can make a soup, With a little a' this 'n' that. She can feed the whole sloop group, With a little a' this 'n' that."

Partial lyrics from “A Little A' This 'n' That” - by Pete Seeger, American Folk Singer

Soup is the great meal extender. In the well known story of Stone Soup, a soup made from a little of this and that, feeds a village that had little in the way of food to share with travelers.  At home I often make a variation called Kitchen Sink Soup, where everything but the kitchen sink goes into the pot to simmer away. What doesn’t seem like much to begin with can add up to something quite satisfying.

I love making Kitchen Sink Soup because it feeds the family cheaply and uses up all those little bits of food that might have otherwise gone to waste. Here is my basic approach for making Kitchen Sink Soup to feed a family.

Component: optional ingredients: what we do:
Flavour base

Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Carrots, Celery

  • Dice the onions, carrots or celery.
  • Mince the garlic or ginger.
  • Place a soup pot on medium heat, adding a small amount of vegetable oil.
  • Fry the veggies for a few minutes, until they make the kitchen smell delicious
Substance Dried red lentils (rinsed), Canned beans (rinsed), Leftover cooked meats Add what's in your fridge or pantry to the veggies.
Thickeners (raw or cooked) Rice, Barley, Oats, Potatoes, Pasta (short variety)
  • These starchy ingredients will really thicken up a soup.  If you want thick soup add some to the pot! If you want a brothy soup, skip this step.
  • If using raw grains or pasta allow enough simmery time to cook them through.  Using cooked grains or pasta will shorten the simmering time
 Seasoning Spices (dry) & Herbs (fresh), Lemon or lime juice
  • Add in ground spices like pepper, cumin, coriander, paprika or a curry spice mix.
  • Wait until the end to add fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, basil or cilantro.  Lemon and lime juice lighten up a soup and should also be added at the end.
Fluid Stock (Low-Sodium), Tomato juice or thinned tomato puree/paste, water
  • Add enough liquid to cover the ingredients in the pot.  If you added uncooked grains, lentils or pasta add a little more liquid to allow them room to expand when they cook.
  • Bring the soup to a simmer, then cover and simmer on low heat until all ingredients are cooked through (note: add slow cooknig ingredients before quick cooking ingredients so that everything is cooked through by around the same time).
  • Taste the soup before serving, garnish wth fresh herbs or citrus juice is available.
  • If you like it chunky, it's ready, if you like it smooth then puree it!
Sides  Bread, crackers  Serve on the side of a steaming bowl of soup!

There you have it, a basic method for making your own version of Kitchen Sink Soup. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients. Experience is the greatest teacher in the kitchen.

One last thing - soups taste better the day after they have been made once the flavours have had a chance to mingle in the fridge. So make enough soup for two days and you’ll have great tasting leftovers for tomorrow. Tell me what goes into your Kitchen Sink Soup.

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Comments (3)


Posted on Tuesday November 8, 2011 a 9:47pm

Thank you for posting this article! I made this last using the leftovers in my fridge and my family loved it! The best thing about it... it was so easy to do.


Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011 a 9:00am

I was looking for easy soup recipes and found this (and my kids had fun making this too)! Will definitely pass on to my friends. With the barley, I found that the dried lentils were a thickener as well, so next time I am just going to use canned beans. Thanks!

cpetelski's picture

HealthyFamilies BC

Posted on Thursday November 17, 2011 a 2:56pm

Thanks for your comments Kincaid42 and rose77! I’m very pleased to hear that you were both able to put the kitchen sink soup approach to good use in your homes. Because the method is so flexible there are tons of variations that can be made, so you never get bored of making it, and the family has something a little different to try each time. It’s true that dried lentils, especially the red ones that get mushy when they cook, will also thicken a soup. In that way dried lentils provide both substance and thickening power—thanks for pointing that out rose77. Does anyone else have kitchen sink soup making tips? Dean Simmons


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