Let me take you back to 1992.

I was in 5th grade.

One of my best friend’s was sleeping over when we conjured up this grand idea to stay up until after my parents went to bed.

Once they were asleep, we tiptoed into the kitchen and began pulling out of the fridge every vegetable that we could get our hands on.

We started slicing, dicing and chopping, and when we were done, all the veggies went into a large pot.

We were making soup!

I know this may sound fictional and like totally bizarre behavior for a 5th grader, but admittedly, it’s the truth.

My love for soup-making developed at a young age, and strangely in the middle of the night.

I often recall this funny memory as I’m throwing together soups using whatever ingredients I happen to have on hand. The beauty of a simple vegetable soup with no recipe is that you can easily interchange the components based on preference and availability.

I concocted this soup a few nights ago and have been enjoying it as a healthy and filling lunch. Use my recipe below as a jumping off point for your own “whatever I have on hand” soup.

On hand…

Wilting kale

Adding pesto

Vegetable “Whatever I Have on Hand” Soup

What You Need

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, sliced and halved
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • ½ cup cooked orzo
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large spoonful of fresh or store-bought pesto

What To Do

  1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large pot. Sauté onion, carrots, and celery until softened.
  3. Add zucchini and sauté 5 minutes. Add kale and cook just until wilted.
  4. Add chicken broth, cooked orzo, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add one large spoonful of pesto and mix until dissolved.
  5. Simmer on medium-high for 25 minutes.
  6. Garnish with parmesan if desired.

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