Thursday, September 8, 2016
Salad Becomes Soup
Do you ever buy those all-in-one salad kits? I don't. For one thing they are just way too expensive; for another, all that extra packaging makes landfills groan. Still, when I see fresh food on clearance sale, I can't be persnickety. That's how I happened to purchase two bagged salads for $1 each the other day.
Now I enjoy salad as much as the next person but each of those bags is meant to serve four people (so if you're dumping the whole thing in a big bowl for a meal for one, you might want to re-think that option). There's just me and the cat here, and she's not eating greens. After three days of salad, I was kinda tired of salad greens myself. But there was still lots of good stuff left: carrot, purple cabbage, several kinds of lettuce. It would be wrong to waste all that bounty. There was one thing to do: make soup.
I sautéed half a chopped onion, several cloves of garlic (minced), and a couple of ribs of sliced celery. I stirred in half a can of tomato paste (the rest of the can will be added to red gravy later) and stir-fried it with the onion mixture. Added about a quart of boiling water. (Adding cold water to soup is just wrong--gotta keep things hot to cook nicely.) I let that simmer for just a little while as I gathered up small amounts of leftover pasta to cook. (Just like I couldn't throw out that salad, I don't like to get rid of those broken bits of rotini and farfalle or the last two tablespoons of accini de pepe.) As the pasta was cooking, I added leftover salad veggies (about 3 cups full) to the soup mixture. To give the soup an added protein boost, I added half a can of chick peas (saving the rest for making hummus tomorrow). I added the drained pasta when it was cooked. Once everything was heated through, I seasoned the soup, put the lid on, and left it on the still-warm stove so the flavors had time to marry. Half an hour later, there was good soup for supper.
Essentially everything I used to make the soup was extra or leftover from something else, so the soup is sort of a freebie. And it was tasty.
The only really wasteful thing was all the packaging from the salads, and that bothers me a bit. I counted six different bags and packets from each of the two salads. But I console myself that the salads were on clearance, and that means that the store will probably order less packs next time since their stock didn't sell at full price.
Ah well, it was an unusual purchase for me and it will, once the soup is all eaten up, have served for about 8 meals as it was meant to do.....even though several of those meals were soup rather than salad!
Life is good.
And it's even better with soup.