Clean out the Fridge Soup

Sometimes I’m at a loss for what to make for dinner and I stare into the open maw of the refrigerator with the hope that inspiration will strike. This recipe came from one such occasion. This past week I found some left over tomato sauce, a couple of cups of a weak chicken “broth” I had saved when I poached some chicken, a small amount of grated onions and a bin of sliced mushrooms reaching a point of no return. The cupboard yielded a bit of Israeli couscous plus some seasonings.


I’m rather happy with the result.

Clean out the Fridge Soup
Servings: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes


  • 1/4 cup of grated onion
  • 1 medium yellow onion, 1/4″ dice
  • 1 green bell pepper, 1/4″ dice
  • 2 stalks celery, rinsed and sliced into 1/4″ thick pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut on a bias into 1/4″ thick coins
  • 3 cups leftover slow-cooker tomato sauce (see note)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5 oz. Israeli couscous
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp. Penzey’s Mural of Flavor spice blend
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper


  1. Heat the 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, pepper, and celery and stir to coat with oil. Sprinkle with a good pinch of kosher salt and add 3-4 grinds of black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions start to become translucent.
  2. Add the garlic to the pot and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the remaining olive oil and mushrooms to the pan. Stir the mushrooms to coat in oil and cook for 5 minutes until the liquid starts being released from the mushrooms.
  4. Add the carrots and stir to combine.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, water, chicken broth and chickpeas. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the Israeli couscous and stir to combine. Cook for another 8 minutes. Check the couscous for doneness; continue cooking for another minute or two if it isn’t quite done.
  7. Add the lemon zest and juice. Taste and add salt & pepper to your preference.
  8. Serve with toasted sourdough bread and enjoy.

You can substitute 2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes for the sauce. I’d drain them before adding them to the soup.

If you don’t have chicken broth don’t sweat it. Just increase the water and maybe add a bit more seasoning.

The Penzey’s spice blend has a dozen things in it. What it doesn’t have is salt. I like to control the amount of salt directly. Substitute your favorite spice blend.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s