Leftover-Vegetable Soup

Leftover-Vegetable Soup

The Spruce / Loren Runion

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
168 Calories
9g Fat
18g Carbs
3g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 168
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 386mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 6mg 31%
Calcium 48mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 307mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Most of us have some random, leftover vegetables in the fridge drawer—maybe a little bit of cauliflower or a few broccoli florets, perhaps a handful of spinach and a single leek. There might be a lone sweet potato in the pantry, or a smattering of baby white potatoes, not nearly enough to mash. But instead of tossing them into the compost, turn them into a tasty and filling soup.

First, take stock of what you have and sort the vegetables into types (root vegetables, leafy greens, peppers, and soft vegetables like tomatoes). Then decide what goes well with what and head to the stove. A great tasting soup always starts with a base of sautéed onion, garlic, carrots, and celery, and uses a good stock or broth. Sprinkling in some spices and/or fresh herbs is always a good idea, adding flavor and freshness to the soup. No matter the ingredients, this soup freezes well and is certainly an easier way to freeze vegetables


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 large onion (peeled and finely chopped)

  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and finely chopped)

  • 2 large carrots (peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks)

  • 2 ribs celery (washed and chopped into bite-sized chunks)

  • 3 cups vegetables (peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks)

  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable, chicken, or beef stock

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Leftover-Vegetable Soup ingredients

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  2. In a large stockpot or soup pan, heat the vegetable oil.

    pot with oil

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  3. Add the onion and gently cook until it begins to soften.

    onions cooking in a pot with oil

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  4. Add the garlic, carrot, and celery and cook for another 5 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic.

    Add the garlic, carrot, and celery to the onions in the pot

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  5. Add the chopped vegetables and stir.

    add the rest of the vegetables to the pot

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  6. Add the stock, bay leaf, and spices, if using.

    Add the stock, bay leaf, and spices to the vegetables in the pot

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  7. Cook until all the vegetables are soft and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

    cook the vegetable soup in the pot

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  8. Blend the soup in the pot using a stick (immersion) blender, or pour into a food processor and blend. You can create a smooth soup, or leave it a little chunky. Cook the soup for another 5 minutes to reduce slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Leftover-Vegetable Soup, blended with an immersion blender

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

Steam expands quickly in a blender and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere and lead to burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.


  • Great vegetables for soup include parsnips, celeriac, leeks, sweet potato, or any other winter roots. The addition of the root vegetables helps to thicken the soup and means less time reducing on the stove. 
  • Make sure all of the vegetables are cleaned, peeled, and cut into similar size chunks.
  • Leafy greens that are great in soup include spinach, watercress, cabbage, collard greens, and arugula.
  • Don't be afraid of adding cooked vegetables to the soup. These can be added toward the end of the cooking time to make sure they are thoroughly heated through.
  • A great addition is mashed potatoes, which will thicken the soup as well as add flavor and volume. 

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