It’s one of those things that you have to celebrate by yourself though. Personally I think my family should be exclaiming in delight that I made luscious, creamy, healthy soup from the unused ends of my ratatouille veg and the tiny bit of leftovers from the meal itself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that everyone polished off their soup, and even demanded seconds. But wouldn’t it be nice to get a ‘WHAT? REALLY? you made this out of nothing? out of bits that were going to be thrown away?? that’s stupendous! I’m so impressed with your ingenuity!’. Perhaps a little much to expect from a four-year-old and an eight-year-old, but maybe it’ll happen one day.
So this meal is for all of you out there who use up your leftovers, who save the environment, who save money, and who use the resources of their imagination to put a meal on the table out of seemingly nothing. WELL DONE! I think you’re brilliant!!
So first of all, I’m going to suggest you make Ratatouille one evening for dinner. Try my Ratatouille with Feta Croutons it’s a great-tasting, nutritious meal, perfect for ‘Meatless Mondays’. Once it’s in the oven, assess what you have leftover. If you have portioned and measured everything perfectly and you’re left with one slice of tomato, then I salute you. You’re a better person than me.
However, you will be having no soup.
If you’re left with varying piles of the least pretty looking slices of veg, then you’re onto a winner. Simply put the veg in a pan with a tbsp. of olive oil and fry them gently for a few minutes. Then add some red lentils (about 1 tbsp. per person), cover with stock and boil for about 15-20 minutes. Then whizz it up using a hand blender, stir in some cheese, salt and pepper and your soup is ready for tomorrow’s lunch. If you can save a few slices of the cooked ratatouille, it makes a pretty topping with a bit of sprinkled cheese. You can portion out your soup into bowls, leave to go cold, top with a bit of the leftover ratatouille. Then cover and refrigerate until the next day.
For the detailed recipe and instructions below, I’m going to give measurements for making the soup. This is for those of you who just want to make the soup who haven’t made the ratatouille beforehand. Plus it’s a little hard writing up a recipe without giving some idea on quantities! Don’t worry about the amounts of veg too much. If you have more or less of something in your pile of leftovers, just put it in anyway. If you think you haven’t got enough veg, then throw in a couple of carrots or peppers.
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ a large courgette/zucchini, chopped
- ½ a regular butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped
- ½ a red onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 4 tbsp. red lentils, rinsed
- 1 litre/34 fl oz of hot chicken or vegetable stock (use bouillon powder for gluten free)
- 80g/3 oz strong cheddar cheese, grated
- pinch of salt and pepper
- Leftover ratatouille veg (optional)
- 20g/0.75 oz strong cheddar cheese, grated
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add in the courgette/zucchini, butternut squash and red onion and cook on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Add in the tomatoes and lentils, give everything a good stir and cook for a further minute. Add in the stock, stir, bring to the boil and then gently simmer for 15-20 minutes until your lentils are very soft. Remove the pan from the heat and blend the contents using a stick blender. Stir through the cheese and the salt and pepper.
- Divide between four bowls and top with any leftover ratatouille and the remaining cheese.
Alternatively you can freeze this soup for up to 2 months. Defrost before reheating thoroughly.
Nutritional info obtained from caloriecount.about.com – Based on 4 servings not including the ratatouille topping.
(One quarter of this ratatouille (without the feta croutons) split between four portions of soup will add an extra 50 calories per serving.)