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7 leftover soup ideas to beat mealtime fatigue

Being able to make foods in batches can be a clutch, time-saving mealtime hack. But by the time day three hits, chances are you may not be as thrilled to eat (yet again) what you prepped in advance. Meal fatigue is real, my friends. That's when it's time to get a little creative with your leftovers.

It's a cooking fact that some leftovers are easier to transform than others. Leftover pizza, for example, is still going to be leftover pizza, no matter how you try to rework those slices. Soup, on the other hand, is a chameleon. If your still not convinced soup can be the multitasking ingredient, don’t worry: I’ve rounded up seven handy leftover soup ideas to keep in your metaphorical apron pocket for when you need them. Not only will they keep your meals interesting, but they help reduce food waste, too. A win-win.

Looking for soup inspiration? Here are some delicious recipes in our free foodfittery app:

Creamy carrot, ginger & coconut soup
Creamy broccoli & chorizo soup
Creamy beetroot soup
Creamy pumpkin soup

  1. Replace water with flavour
    I like to use leftover soup to give neutral-tasting grains, like rice and quinoa, more dimension with bolder flavour and richer texture. Think of it like chicken or veggie stock packed with even more flavour. Using leftover soup not only infuses the rice or quinoa with added flavour, but also bulks it up with vegetables and protein – assuming the soup includes these items – making it a complete meal. Even though it only takes about five minutes to combine the grains and soup, it instantly makes it a lot more interesting than having either one separately.
  2. Use it to make pasta sauce
    This is probably my favourite way to reuse soup. If I have a broth-based soup, I like to simmer it, until the liquid has been reduced by about 25 percent. While the leftover soup is simmering, cook your favourite long pasta, ideally a thicker cut such as tagliatelle, fettuccine, pappardelle, or bucatini. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, then add it to the reduced soup mixture and let simmer together briefly before adding olive oil and a sprinkle of cheese for a finishing touch.

    The result is a pasta dinner with a sauce that's much more interesting than just jarred tomato sauce. In my experience, this works best when paired with heartier, blender soups. For example, a thick and creamy beetroot soup or roasted butternut soup works well here. The idea is that the thicker the sauce, the more easily it’ll be absorbed by the cooked pasta.
  3. Use it to make Risotto
    Broth-based soups work particularly well with risottos. Replace the stock with the leftover soup. Like a traditional risotto, the rice becomes creamy but firm, and full of flavour. Alternatively, you can add a heartier, blended soup – like a creamy pumpkin soup – at the end of cooking to create a lighter, flavourful, and vibrant Risotto.
  4. Add it to make a casserole creamier or thicker
    Casserole and soup are essentially the superheroes of comforting meals, especially come the cold winter months. So, why not combine them together? In perfect better-together fashion, I like to use leftover soup as the liquid-y base of a hearty casserole recipe or to make delicious vegetarian casserole recipes. An idea to use up creamy or thicker soups could be to play around with turning them into a casserole. Whenever a casserole calls for liquid, consider using the soup instead.
  5. Make healthy mashed potatoes
    Mash potatoes are comfort food royalty. They take the cake when it comes to choosing a heavy side dish loaded with creams and fats. Instead of using cream, use some chicken or veggie stock to lighten it up a bit. The stock will bring extra taste and a consistency that keeps that creamy texture you're looking for. Mash them up with garlic, chives, spices and butter and you'll feel full and light leaving the dinner table.
  6. Turn it into a dipping sauce
    So, can you turn soup into sauce? You sure can. When I have a hearty, creamy leftover soup that I want to reuse in a new way, I’ll often whirl it into a delicious dip. To do this, simmer your leftover soup on the skillet, then sprinkle on cheese to thicken the texture. Then, bake it in the oven at 200 C until it's bubbly and golden. Serve it with baguette slices, crackers, or tortilla chips. Not a cheese lover? You can also thicken your soup by throwing it in the blender with a handful of cooked cauliflower. Since cauliflower has a neutral taste, it will add bulk without changing the flavour.
  7. Cut the fat
    Lowering the fat content when sauteing vegetables is simple by replacing the oil with a vegetable broth and a great alternative to help you lose weight. The great part about cooking with broth instead of oil is that you get all the flavour of what's being cooked instead of only tasting the oil coating. Vegetables naturally release a lot of water when they're being cooked so it's unnecessary to add too much broth, just a small amount will do the trick. This is an easy switch that won't fall short on flavour.

    © Becca Tapert/ Unsplash.com, Jade Aucamp/ Unsplash.com

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Having worked in several starred kitchens around the world, our passionate professional chef has published her own cookbooks and places an emphasis on seasonal, regional and natural (organic) ingredients. Her food philosophy: Food not only connects people worldwide but is always a delightful sensory experience. See, feel, smell, taste (!), and while cooking you’ll even hear your food.