Delightful Garbage Soup Recipe To Reduce Leftovers With Expert Guide

Food lovers, rejoice! Garbage Soup isn’t what you might think. Forget conventional recipes and dive into a culinary experience, taking kitchens by storm. This soup transforms kitchen scraps into a gastronomic spectacle. 

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Garbage Soup Recipe

Every spoonful bursts with flavor, reminding us of the hidden gems often discarded. It’s sustainable, innovative, and downright delicious.

Ready to change how you see leftovers? Garbage Soup is your ticket to eco-friendly gourmet dining

Dive in and discover the magic of turning the ordinary into extraordinary. Join the revolution; let your taste buds lead the way!

What Is A Garbage Soup Recipe?

Garbage Soup is a creative culinary concoction that turns typically discarded kitchen scraps into a delectable dish.

Instead of wasting vegetable ends, peelings, or leftover bits, these ingredients are combined and simmered to perfection. This sustainable approach minimizes kitchen waste and introduces a flavorful and nutritious meal. 

Embracing the ethos of eco-friendly cooking, Garbage Soup celebrates the potential of every food item, ensuring nothing goes to waste, and every bite is a delightful surprise.

History Of Garbage Soup Recipe

Garbage Soup has roots in various cultures, tracing back to when resourcefulness in the kitchen was paramount.

Historically, families couldn’t afford to waste food, so leftover scraps from different meals were combined and simmered to create a new dish. 

Over the years, this practice evolved into a culinary art. Different regions added their unique twists, from ingredients to cooking techniques.

Today, Garbage Soup represents sustainability and innovation, reminding us of our ancestors’ wisdom in making the most of every resource.

Interesting Facts About The Garbage Soup Recipe

  • Cultural Roots: Almost every culture has its version, from the Spanish “sopa de ajo” using stale bread to Asian bone broths crafted from leftover meat bits.
  • Zero Waste: It promotes a zero-waste lifestyle, turning potential trash into treasure.
  • Nutrient-Rich: Scraps, especially vegetable peels, are often packed with nutrients that the soup retains.
  • Ever-changing Recipe: No two Garbage Soups are exactly alike, making each preparation a unique experience.
  • Eco-friendly: Using scraps reduces the carbon footprint of meals, contributing to eco-friendly dining.
  • Budget-Friendly: It can save households considerable money by maximizing food usage.

What Makes The Garbage Soup Recipe Special?

  • Sustainability: Champions a zero-waste kitchen, embracing an eco-friendly approach.
  • Unpredictability: Each batch offers a unique flavor profile, creating an element of surprise.
  • Resourcefulness: Showcases the art of creatively using every ingredient to its fullest.
  • Economical: Helps households save money by reducing food waste.
  • Versatility: Adaptable to almost any ingredient, allowing endless variations.
  • Nutrient Boost: Often made from parts rich in vitamins and minerals.
Garbage Soup Recipe

Ingredients List 

Lean Ground Beef1 pound
Potatoes (diced)6
Diced Tomatoes1 can (14.5 ounces)
Onion (chopped)1
Chopped Celery1 cup
Beef Broth1 can (10.5 ounces)
Mixed Vegetables2 cups
Salt and PepperTo taste
Dried Rosemary1/8 tablespoon
Dried Thyme1/8 tablespoon
Dried Basil1/4 tablespoon
Bacon (cooked and crumbled)1/2 pound

Ingredient Tips 

  • Veggies: Use wilted or overripe ones.
  • Proteins: Mix leftover meats or tofu.
  • Starches: Toss in cold rice, pasta, or potatoes.
  • Herbs: Revive slightly dried or wilted herbs.
  • Broth Base: Save veggie peels for homemade broth.
  • Dairy: Almost expired milk can thicken the base.
  • Beans: Blend leftover beans for a creamy texture.

Can You Vary The Garbage Soup Recipe With Other Ingredients?

  • Keto: Prioritize high-fat, low-carb ingredients. Use avocados, leftover meats, and above-ground veggies. Avoid potatoes and pasta.
  • Paleo: Focus on whole foods. Incorporate lean meats, fish, fresh vegetables, and nuts. Skip dairy and grains.
  • Gluten-Free: Ensure no gluten-containing items like wheat pasta or soy sauce. Opt for rice, quinoa, and gluten-free seasonings.
  • Whole30: Emphasize whole, unprocessed ingredients. Use meats, seafood, eggs, veggies, and natural spices. No sugar or alcohol.
  • Vegetarian: Skip the meat. Rely on beans, lentils, vegetables, grains, and dairy.
  • Vegan: Remove all animal-derived items. Use plant-based proteins, such as tofu, tempeh, legumes, and veggies.
Garbage Soup Recipe

Recipe Directions 

  • In a large pot, combine beef, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, celery, vegetables, and broth.
  • Add water to cover the ingredients.
  • Cook covered on medium heat for 1 hour.
  • Season with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and basil.
  • Stir in bacon bits and serve.

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings


  • Vegetarian: Omit beef, add beans or lentils.
  • Spicy: Incorporate chili peppers or hot sauce.


  • Grains: Quinoa, barley, or rice for added texture.
  • Greens: Spinach, kale, or Swiss chard wilted in the last minutes of cooking.
  • Proteins: Tofu, chicken, or shrimp for diversity.
  • Legumes: Chickpeas, black beans, or kidney beans for heartiness.


  • Cheeses: Grated Parmesan, feta crumbles, or vegan cheese.
  • Fresh Herbs: Chopped cilantro, parsley, or dill.
  • Crunch: Croutons, toasted nuts, or pumpkin seeds.

Scaling The Recipe 

  • Determine Servings: Establish the original recipe’s serving size. You’ll double the ingredients if it serves 4 and needs 8 servings.
  • Proportional Math: Multiply (or divide) each ingredient’s quantity by the scaling factor. If halving, use 0.5; if doubling, use 2.
  • Consider Cooking Time: Larger quantities may need more cooking time, while smaller portions cook faster. Always check for doneness.
  • Adjustments: Some ingredients, like spices, might not need exact scaling. Use taste as a guide.
  • Vessel Size: Ensure pots or containers are appropriate for the scaled amount.

What Is Used For Garnishing Garbage Soup Recipe?

  • Fresh Herbs: Chopped parsley, cilantro, or chives add freshness.
  • Cheeses: Grated Parmesan, crumbled feta, or shredded cheddar gives a creamy texture.
  • Crunch: Toasted croutons, pumpkin seeds, or crispy onion rings offer a contrasting bite.
  • Drizzles: Olive oil, chili oil, or a dollop of yogurt can enhance depth.
  • Spices: A sprinkle of paprika, black pepper, or red chili flakes for a touch of heat.
  • Citrus: Lemon or lime zest or wedges for a tangy finish.
Garbage Soup Recipe

Can I Make Garbage Soup Recipe In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Slow Cooker

  • Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours, ensuring vegetables are tender and meats are cooked through.
  • Adjust seasonings before serving.

Instant Pot

  • If desired, use the “Sauté” function to brown any meats or aromatics.
  • Add remaining ingredients, ensuring not to exceed the maximum fill line.
  • Seal the lid, set the valve to “Sealing,” and cook on “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” for 20-25 minutes.

Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

Store-Bought Broth

  • Convenience: Ready to use, saving time and effort.
  • Consistency: Offers a predictable flavor profile.
  • Variety: Available in various types – chicken, beef, vegetable, and bone broths.

Homemade Broth

  • Customizable: Control ingredients, salt content, and flavor intensity.
  • Economical: Made from kitchen scraps, like vegetable peels and leftover bones.
  • No Additives: Free from preservatives and artificial flavorings.

Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup? 

  • Meat: Beyond beef, consider chicken, turkey, pork, or game meats. Just ensure they’re cooked thoroughly.
  • Fish: Salmon, cod, tilapia, or shellfish like shrimp and mussels can be added. Remember, fish and seafood typically cook faster than meat.
  • Pasta: Use any type – spaghetti, penne, fusilli, or even gluten-free and whole-grain varieties. Consider adding pasta towards the end of cooking to prevent overcooking.
  • Vegetables: The sky’s the limit! Carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, peas, corn, or leafy greens all work. The soup is an opportunity to use veggies that might be past their prime but still good to eat.
Garbage Soup Recipe

Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making The Recipe 

Prepping Tips

  • Uniformity: Chop ingredients consistently for even cooking.
  • Aromatics: Start with onions, garlic, or celery for a flavorful base.
  • Herb Stems: Use stems of cilantro or parsley; they pack flavor.

Cooking Time

  • Layering: Begin with ingredients that take the longest to cook, like meat and root veggies.
  • Gentle Simmer: A rolling boil can make meat tough and disintegrate veggies.
  • Skim: Occasionally skim off any impurities or fat from the surface for a clearer broth.
  • Finish: Delicate ingredients like greens or dairy should be added towards the end.
Garbage Soup Recipe

Nutritional Values 

Garbage Soup not only showcases resourceful cooking but also packs a nutritional punch. This soup provides essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

Each serving delivers a wholesome blend of nutrients, making it a delicious and healthful choice.

What Are The Total Calories In The Garbage Soup?

Considering the mentioned ingredients and their typical quantities, a rough estimate might range from 250-400 calories per serving, but this is a ballpark figure.

For an accurate calorie count, you’d need to utilize nutrition calculation tools or software, inputting the exact amount of each ingredient.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Garbage Soup Recipe

  • Meat-based: Not suitable for vegetarians, vegans, or those on religious or ethical meat restrictions.
  • Gluten: If using certain broths or pasta, it may not be gluten-free.
  • Dairy: Without specified dairy ingredients, it appears dairy-free unless modified.
  • Low-Carb/Keto: The potatoes and certain vegetables may be too carb-heavy for strict keto followers.
  • Allergens: Onions, celery, and some broths can be allergens for some individuals.

 Health Benefits Of Garbage Soup Recipe

  • Nutrient-rich: Made from diverse vegetables, providing a range of vitamins and minerals.
  • Low-Waste: Utilizing leftover ingredients reduces food waste and promotes sustainability.
  • Hydration: The broth base helps in maintaining hydration levels.
  • Protein Source: If using meats or legumes it’s a good source of essential proteins.
  • Digestive Health: Celery and onions, common ingredients, offer dietary fiber, aiding digestion.

Nutrition Table 

Garbage Soup Recipe

How Can I Make Garbage Soup Recipe Lower In Sodium? 

  • Broth: Opt for low-sodium or unsalted store-bought broths. Alternatively, make your broth to control the salt content.
  • Seasoning: Limit or skip adding salt. For flavor, use fresh or dried herbs like basil, thyme, and rosemary and spices like pepper, paprika, or cumin.
  • Ingredients: Avoid processed or canned goods that are high in sodium. If using canned items, like tomatoes, choose no-salt-added versions or rinse them well before use.
  • Natural Enhancers: Ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, or unsalted stocks can amplify flavors without adding sodium.
  • Taste & Adjust: Always taste before serving and adjust seasoning accordingly.

How Can I Make Garbage Soup Recipe Lower In Sugar?

  • Broth: Opt for homemade or ensure store-bought broths contain no added sugars.
  • Vegetables: Some veggies, like carrots and sweet potatoes, have natural sugars. Limit or balance these with low-sugar veggies like greens or zucchini.
  • Canned Goods: Avoid canned items with added sugars. Check labels; “syrup” or “juice concentrate” indicate sugars.
  • Natural Flavor: Use herbs, spices, and other seasonings to enhance flavor without adding sweetness.
  • Tomatoes: Opt for fresh over canned, or ensure that canned versions add no sugar.
Garbage Soup Recipe

How To Serve The Garbage Soup Recipe At Its Best?

  • Reheat Properly: Warm soup over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated.
  • Consistency: If the soup has thickened while storing, add a little broth or water to reach the desired consistency.
  • Garnishes: Top with fresh herbs, a drizzle of good-quality oil, or some freshly grated cheese.
  • Accompaniments: Serve with crusty bread, a side salad, or a slice of lemon to squeeze over for a fresh kick.
  • Presentation: Use warm bowls to keep the soup hot longer. Garnish edges with finely chopped herbs for added appeal.

Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Garbage Soup Recipe

  • Crusty Bread: Great for dipping and soaking up the flavorful broth.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: Adds a warm, melty texture contrast.
  • Salad: A crisp green or Caesar salad offers a refreshing counterpoint.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Enhance the soup’s earthy flavors.
  • Quinoa or Rice Pilaf: Adds a wholesome grainy element.
  • Steamed Greens: Drizzled with olive oil or a touch of garlic butter.
  • Bruschetta: Crunchy toasted bread topped with tomatoes, basil, and garlic.

How Long Can We Store The Garbage Soup? 

  • Refrigeration: Store the soup in an airtight container once cooled to room temperature. It will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, portion the soup into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, leaving some space for expansion. The soup can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
  • Reheating: Thaw frozen soup in the fridge overnight. Reheat on the stove until it reaches a simmer, stirring occasionally.

Can I Make Garbage Soup Recipe In Advance?

  • Flavor Development: Soups often taste better the next day, allowing flavors to meld.
  • Convenience: Prepare for busy days or events by cooking ahead.
  • Refrigeration: Cool the soup quickly after cooking, then store it in the fridge. Consume within 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, freeze individual portions. This makes it easier to thaw and reheat only what’s needed.
  • Reheating: Warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Adjust the consistency with a little broth or water if the soup thickens.

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

  • Reheat and Eat: The simplest choice, as flavors often intensify over time.
  • Base for New Soup: Add new ingredients to create a different soup variant.
  • Pasta Sauce: Reduce until thickened and toss with your favorite pasta.
  • Casserole Filling: Mix with grains like rice or quinoa, top with cheese, and bake.
  • Stir-fry Base: Use as a moistening agent in vegetable or meat stir-fries.
  • Bread Dip: Warm and serve with crusty bread as a dipping sauce.
  • Pie Filling: Convert into a savory pie or pot pie filling.
Garbage Soup Recipe

 Special Tools/Equipment Needed 

  • Large Stock Pot: Essential for making a good volume of soup and ensuring even cooking.
  • Wooden Spoon: Ideal for stirring without scratching your pot.
  • Ladle: For serving and transferring soup.
  • Knife & Cutting Board: To chop and prepare ingredients.
  • Mesh Strainer: Useful to skim off impurities or strain the broth.
  • Immersion Blender: For those who prefer a smoother soup texture.
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons: For precise ingredient quantities.
  • Thermometer: To ensure meats are cooked to safe temperatures.
  • Storage Containers: Airtight containers for storing leftovers or freezing.
  • Slotted Spoon: Handy for retrieving solid ingredients or tasting.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use A Combination Of Different Meats In The Garbage Soup?

Indeed, it’s entirely possible to incorporate a variety of meats, such as chicken, pork, or lamb, alongside beef. Ensure each type of meat is cooked thoroughly and appropriately, considering their varying cooking times.

How Do I Prevent My Vegetables From Turning Too Soft Or Mushy?

Vegetables should be added according to their cooking times. Harder vegetables like potatoes or carrots can be added earlier. In contrast, softer ones, such as bell peppers or zucchini, should be incorporated later to maintain their texture.

Is There An Ideal Order To Add The Herbs And Seasonings?

Yes, hardier herbs like rosemary and thyme can withstand longer cooking times, so that they can be added earlier. Delicate herbs, such as basil, are best added towards the end of the cooking process to retain their fresh flavor.

Can Garbage Soup Be Made Spicy?

Indeed. You may introduce heat by adding ingredients like chili peppers, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce. Adjust the level of spiciness according to your preference.

Delightful Garbage Soup Recipe To Reduce Leftovers With Expert Guide

Delightful Garbage Soup Recipe To Reduce Leftovers With Expert Guide

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Recipe by Lana Rivera Course: Soups u0026amp; Broths


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Cooking time





Garbage Soup is a hearty, versatile dish that combines a medley of ingredients, often using leftovers or odds-and-ends from your kitchen. Rich in flavors and textures, it’s a testament to culinary creativity and sustainable cooking.


  • Lean Ground Beef

  • Potatoes (diced)

  • Diced Tomatoes

  • Onion (chopped)

  • Chopped Celery

  • Beef Broth

  • Mixed Vegetables

  • Salt and Pepper

  • Dried Rosemary

  • Dried Thyme

  • Dried Basil

  • Bacon (cooked and crumbled)

Step-By-Step Directions 

  • Preparation: Prepare all your ingredients by washing and dicing the vegetables. For the beef, cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  • Combining Ingredients: Use the potatoes, meat, onion, celery, tomatoes, and any other veggies you use in a large stock boiler.
  • Liquid: Pour in the broth, thoroughly combining it with the other ingredients. Fill the saucepan halfway with water to cover all of the ingredients.
  • Cooking: Place the lid on your pot. Turn your stove to medium heat. Allow the soup to simmer gently and cook for approximately 1 hour. The goal is to ensure the vegetables are tender and the beef is thoroughly cooked.
  • Seasoning: Once everything is cooked to perfection, season your soup. Begin with salt and pepper, adjusting according to your taste. Add a hint of rosemary, thyme, and basil. Each herb brings a unique flavor, so feel free to modify quantities based on your preference.
  • Final Touch: To give the soup a savory kick, sprinkle in bacon bits and stir well to distribute the flavor evenly.
  • Serving: Ladle the hot soup into bowls. For an additional touch, garnish with a sprig of fresh herbs or a sprinkle of grated cheese (optional). Serve with crusty bread or a side salad, and enjoy!


  • The soup’s name emphasizes using available ingredients rather than wastage, rather than suggesting inedibility.
  • The ingredients can be easily modified based on dietary restrictions or personal preferences.
  • It’s an excellent dish for batch cooking and freezing for future meals.
  • Always cool the soup properly before refrigerating to maintain freshness.
  • Consider garnishing with fresh herbs or a sprinkle of cheese for added flavor.
Lana Rivera
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