Your Wednesday Jewish Soup Spectacular #5


Ethel G. Hofman

(JNS) Thick, aromatic and brimming with good taste, soup is the perfect food in cold weather. Each spoonful warms and comforts like nothing else. Besides chicken soup—the panacea for what ails you—chances are you can whip up a pot of soup with whatever you have on hand. There’s no need to rush out and buy lots of ingredients. Soup is a delicious catch-all for food items you might otherwise toss.

As food costs skyrocket and favorite items are no longer on market shelves, this is the time to use whatever is on hand—wilted celery, soft zucchini, a carrot or onion that has been lingering at the bottom of the vegetable bin. Not tomatoes? Try a few spoonfuls of jarred spaghetti sauce. No mushrooms? Use canned ones.

Researchers in Canada introduced a clever idea they called “Use-UP Day.” Pick one day a week to create a meal incorporating ingredients already in your fridge and pantry. Participants who took part in the study found that not only did they reduce food waste by one-third, but reported saving money, too.

My Use-Up Day Vegetable soup starts off with a tube of Manischewitz lentil soup mix, though any blend will do fine. Don’t be afraid to add, change or double the ingredients, and don’t be intimidated by the lengthy list of ingredients. Whatever you have on hand can work—anything goes! I use a Yemenite soup spice available in markets or online, but any spice blend may be used, including curry. The result is an aromatic, filling potage to enjoy the same day, bring to a friend’s or freeze early in the week in preparation for Shabbat.

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Bannocks, a recipe from my Shetland Island childhood days and made with basic simple ingredients, can be baked at the last minute. Eat it hot off the skillet and dunk into soup. Stay warm!

Use-Up Day Vegetable Soup (Vegan, Pareve)

Makes 18- 20 cups

Cook’s Tips:

*No tomato juice? Add water to tomato sauce and mix.

*I use Leiber’s instant pareve onion-soup mix.

*For vegetarians, add a spoonful of Parmesan or pesto to each bowl before serving.

*If too thick, add tomato juice or broth to desired consistency.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced

7 cups water

1 (6 ounce) tube Manischewitz lentil soup mix

1 medium white turnip, peeled and cut in chunks

15 baby carrots, cut in chunks

6 medium Brussel sprouts, halved

½ medium potato, cut in chunks

3 to 4 mushrooms, sliced

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained

1 crisp medium apple, unpeeled, cored and diced

3 to 4 cups tomato juice

3 tablespoons instant onion soup mix

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 cup dill, snipped in ¼-inch pieces

2 tablespoons Yemenite soup mix or other spice blend (curry, etc.)

salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the onion. Sauté for 5 minutes. Do not brown.

Add 7 cups water and bring to boil over high heat. Add the lentil soup mix, holding back the small packet. Stir, cover and bring to simmer for 30 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, place the turnip, carrots, Brussel sprouts and potato in a food processor. Pulse until mixture is coarsely textured (5 or 6 pulses).

Add to soup with mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, apple, 3 cups tomato juice, instant onion soup mix, balsamic vinegar and contents of small packet contained in lentil soup mix tube. Stir well, cover.

Bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce to low and cook 30 minutes longer. Stir in dill.

Season to taste with Yemenite soup mix or other spice blend, and salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls and serve.