Fat Free Vegan “Clean Out The Refrigerator Fuhrman Soup” or How To Make Homemade Soup From Scratch Easily

by on February 15, 2012

Low Fat Vegan Clean Out The Refrigerator Vegan Vegetable Soup Nutrient Dense Soup

Clean Out The Refrigerator Soup

This recipe is featured in my Comfort Soups To Keep You Warm recipe ebook along with 29 other AMAZING vegan soup recipes, vegetable stock recipes, and all the tips and tricks to making ANY kind of soup. It’s going to teach you basically to be a soup making expert and be able to cook delicious healthy meals at home, very easily from what you have around.

Somedays you just don’t know what to make for dinner, or only have odds and ends leftover from previous recipes. You look in your refrigerator and see a few carrots, an onion, some celery, some greens and maybe some mushrooms that have seen better days.

What do you do with it all?

You make homemade vegetable soup of course! This is what I do when I feel creatively drained or uninspired to make a new recipe from scratch.

This is also a great way to eat a “Nutrient Dense” or “Eat To Live” style vegan meal like Dr. Joel Fuhrman recommends. (Check out his books Super Immunity, or Eat To Live, if you already haven’t) Lots of low calorie, high antioxidant plant foods, gently cooked together are wonderful. In Feb 2012 I was at the McDougall 3-Day Advanced Study Weekend, and Dr. Fuhrman was telling us the benefits of eating just 1/2 an onion a day, about 1 tomato and just 1 mushroom and how nutritious these are to add to your diet regularly. He has an amazing wealth of knowledge, and I am definitely going to be making more nutrient dense, low calorie green vegetable based dishes from now on.

This soup is a great way to get more of these antioxidants and phytochemicals into your diet in a fairly easy no-fuss way. It’s also a great vegan cabbage soup recipe that is low calorie and packed with veggies.

It is also especially handy to keep some vegetable broth on hand (low sodium is always preferable) for just such an occasion, so you don’t have to make your own vegetable stock as well when you’re short on time. (When I do have time I like to make fresh vegetable stock every week and keep it in the fridge for daily sautéing and making soup with)

Making your own nutrient dense vegan homemade soup from scratch is quite easy. The hard work is only peeling and chopping your veggies. Basically use what you have and always start cooking the onions and the hardest vegetables first (so peel and prepare those first) and they can start cooking while you finish peeling/washing and slicing the other veggies.

It also helps to have some fresh herbs on hand. My top picks would be thyme, dill, basil, cilantro or parsley. These can easily be used up in soup recipes if you have any stray or wilting bits left, so don’t throw them away.

And as with making almost any homemade soup, I always throw in a few bay leaves. They really add a lot of flavour and are great for seasoning soup, vegetable stock or dried beans.

Basic Ingredients For Making Your Own Homemade Nutrient Dense Soup

  • Low sodium vegetable broth (water and salt is not a good enough substitute for this, low salt bouillon and water will do in a pinch)
  • Any vegetables such as carrots, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, yams/sweet potatoes, golden beets, turnips, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale, swiss chard, peas, corn, etc
  • Beans or grains (if desired) white beans, lentils, chickpeas, pinto beans, black beans, barley, rice, pasta, etc (make sure beans are pre cooked, or canned before adding)
  • Fresh herbs/dried herbs like thyme, bay leaf, dill, basil, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, Italian herb seasonings, Herbs De Provence etc
  • Base flavor enhancers like canned tomatoes, tomato paste, coconut milk or almond milk (depending whether you want a tomato-ey or creamy soup) *This is optional
  • Seasonings like salt, pepper, lemon juice, lime juice, sweetener (to balance acidity from tomatoes or lemon if desired) cumin, chili pepper, cayenne, smoked paprika, etc

If you add some things from each category (especially ones that you personally like…) and can season to taste and balance out blandness by kicking it up with some lemon, salt and a little sweetener if desired you will have a great soup on your hands.

Also a trick I have for bringing out sweetness to tomato based soups is to add golden beets to it. Golden beets can be found at your health food store, and some grocery stores or farmers markets. They are becoming more popular nowadays. They look almost like small yellowish turnips, but they are beets! (For one thing they don’t turn your hand red and make a mess) They contain natural sugars that leak out into the vegetable broth, so it balances out the harsh acidity of tomato based vegetable soups and goes really well with beans or barley as well. Just make sure you cut the pieces into little cubes, and start cooking them right away with the onions in broth. They take the longest to cook, so you don’t want them to be crunchy while the rest of your vegetables are soft.

Additional Pointers For Cooking Homemade Soup

If you want a fast soup, cut all your veggies (especially potatoes and beets) into smaller cubes so they cook faster. Always add these first to the pot along with carrots and celery. Fresh hard herbs like thyme or rosemary need to go in at the beginning of the soup. Dried or tender herbs like basil, cilantro or parsley can go in near the end of cooking to retain their flavour. Quick cooking veggies like greens, broccoli, asparagus or cauliflower should be added 3-5 minutes before your soup is done so they don’t fall apart and go mushy. Canned corn is very forgiving and can go in at the beginning of cooking and will hold it’s firmness. Canned beans should go in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking as they are fairly soft already and you don’t want them to be mushy and overcooked. Always salt and pepper your soup at the end. Don’t just keep adding salt every time you stir it. When some of the water dissipates you can be left with an over salted or over spiced soup. Always reserve taste testing for the end when everything’s cooked and you can doctor up the flavour from there. Start with a little salt, pepper, spice, or sweetener and keep tasting and adding until you get it right to your liking. Always use low sodium, sodium free and sugar free canned foods so you can control the salt and sugar content of the soup. Read labels! *Note about adding pastas to soup. I really prefer cooking most pastas separately and then putting it into serving bowls and pouring the soup over it. This makes your soup nice and clear and pretty and reduces the risk of over cooking it. If you do cook the pasta in the soup, it’s going to use up some of the water and make it murky with the starch. Check the cooking time of your pasta and add it part way through the soup when the vegetables are starting to be almost soft enough.

And now my made up on the spot “throw it all in a pot” and cook it soup. This is a great way to get more greens into your diet or use up any extras that you don’t have a recipe planned for. This soup is packed with green vegetables, but is light and refreshing. We ate this by itself and basically ate the whole pot because it’s very low in calories. This is a great first course or “weight-loss soup” as well. Fill up on healthy vegetables!

Low Fat Vegan Clean Out The Refrigerator Vegan Vegetable Soup Nutrient Dense Soup

“Clean Out The Refrigerator” Homemade Vegetable Soup

Featured in Comfort Soups To Keep You Warm by Veronica Grace

Serves 6


2 litres/quarts vegetable broth, (low sodium or homemade)
1 large onion, diced
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 bay leaves
1 tbsp fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried (or favourite herbs, like dill, basil, etc)
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 medium golden beet or turnip, diced small (smaller is better)
1-2 cups of sliced mushrooms
6-8 asparagus spears, ends trimmed and cut into thirds (or other green vegetable of choice)
2 cups broccoli or broccolini florets
2 cups sliced green cabbage, or other greens
handful of parsley, chopped
juice of half a lemon
salt and fresh pepper to taste


1. Add 1 cup vegetable broth to a large soup pot and turn onto medium heat. Add bay leaves, thyme, onions and beets and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Add more broth if necessary to beets until they are almost covered.  (While this is cooking you can continue peeling/slicing your other veggies)

2. Add the mushrooms, garlic, carrots, celery, cabbage and the rest of one carton of vegetable broth. Stir and let it keep cooking over medium-medium high heat for about 10-15 minutes. Add more vegetable broth if needed from the other carton. You want your vegetables to be almost done before adding the broccoli and asparagus. Check on the beets, if they are still too hard keep cooking until they are almost done.

3. Add the remaining vegetable broth and bring it up to a boil. When it’s boiling, turn it back down to medium-medium high and add the asparagus, broccoli and parsley (and any spinach if using). Cook for 2-4 minutes (depending on the size you cut them) and test the broccoli and asparagus for doneness. You don’t want them too wilted or mushy. When done immediately take off heat.

4. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and season to taste. Adjust seasonings if desired.

5. Serve!

What do you think of this “Eat To Live” style recipe? Have you ever made homemade soup before? What do you do with your leftover vegetables?

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bradley August 12, 2016 at 7:49 AM

It’s raining here today,and what better way then to make soup
Love this recipe.


2 BarbaraLee June 3, 2016 at 1:54 PM

So it’s ok to use salt? I’m not a big salt person but I have a hard time not using it. If something is to salty I can’t eat it.


3 Linda Burrell May 26, 2015 at 2:06 PM

I would not make or eat this; many of these vegetables do not do well over cooked in my opinion. They include: broccoli, asparagus and even sometimes cabbage. if I have these left over, I’d rather marinate them in a lemony oil and vinegar dressing and eat cold.


4 Veronica Grace May 28, 2015 at 9:42 PM

The green vegetables are not to be cooked to death, but added just at the end. This is a low fat blog, so I don’t post or encourage recipes with oil. The calories in the oil totally overpower the veggies and I want to encourage people to find fat free ways to enjoy vegetables instead of just continually drizzling them in oil to manage eating them.


5 Mary G May 16, 2016 at 11:32 AM

And I am so very happy that you do! I’m a new convert to a high carb plant based diet and thrilled to find your blog!


6 erinb April 1, 2014 at 4:12 AM

Love your blogs!
Request Please; could you do more videos, I love your videos and seeing you in the kitchen. As well, what about what you eat in a typical day, would be so health-full.

Love all you bring here to us!
Super job!


7 Charlotte April 16, 2013 at 7:36 AM

I like this idea and make this kind of soup often. One thing I like to do is to take about a cup liquid out of the soup just before serving, blend it with about 4 oz. roasted red peppers and return it to the pot for a natural color and flavor boost.


8 Pat December 18, 2012 at 8:16 PM

I never thought to cook the pasta on the side and add the soup on top when serving. I have made soups before but always cooked the pasta in the soup. I am going to try and put it in the bowl just prior to eating. Thank you.


9 Teresa de Souza December 18, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Oh , dear V eronica !! Thank You . There Recipes are Wonderful .
I love it without tasting it !!

I used to prepare Homemade Vegan Soup in the Past . I love SOUPS !
But I loved Campbell too … my Father used to love them …
… I ‘ ve got the Habit of ‘ absorbing ‘ , taking them .
Your , here above is realy Me !! All Ingredients !!
Great to find out again a Soup which is really Me .
Ingredients … Me .

All my Respect ,



10 Charlene March 25, 2012 at 12:19 PM

This soup is similar to the soup I make. I just take some lentils or beans cooked in veggie broth, add a ton of veggies, then add lemon juice, garlic powder and pepper. I make a big batch and eat it all week.


11 Vicky (Sweet and Healthy Living) March 23, 2012 at 1:17 AM

I like Dr Furhman’s Eat to Live program. I eat so many vegetables already though, so getting more in isn’t really necessary. I don’t usually make soups, but instead blend half of my steamed vegetables in the blender to a thick cream and mix it either in my salad or with the rest of the vegetables. I love creamy things and it definitely tastes creamy!


12 Jelle (mostlyraw.eu) March 22, 2012 at 9:39 AM

#3 I really like this approach, I completely cleared out my fridge and refrigerator of all vegetables making soup and green smoothies. I tried freezing some fresh vegetables as spares, but when making soup with those vegetables it just ain’t tasting the same as when using fresh vegetables. I am probably doing something wrong, maybe make a post how to freeze vegetables and how to use frozen vegetables?


13 Deborah February 22, 2012 at 7:11 PM

Made your soup and roasted veggie recipie last night. So good! Never would I have put fennel and brussels sprouts together–my girls loved it, too. I brought the soup for lunch today at work and several people commented at how good it looked. Thank you for your site. So helpful with great recipies and ideas for busy moms.


14 Veronica February 22, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Hi Deborah, that sounds great! I have never put fennel or brussels sprouts into a soup. I’m glad it worked. 🙂 When you have fresh ingredients it’s pretty easy to make them work together with a few herbs. Thanks for visiting the site! 🙂


15 Martin Matej February 20, 2012 at 6:18 PM

My mum just started cooking in McDougall´s style and we usually enjoy soups from all kinds of veggies with potatoes etc. So filling and tasty 😉


16 Clara Mae Watrous February 20, 2012 at 2:23 AM

Dear Veronica,

I like what you’re doing. I’ve done soup similarly with some fresh items. When we were younger and the children were at home, we would have leftover soup on Friday night. I would take all the left overs from the week, heat them up together and then blend them. My husband thought it was a delicious soup.


17 Veronica March 10, 2012 at 6:11 PM

That sounds great Clara Mae!


18 Tim Peterson February 20, 2012 at 1:34 AM

Hi Veronica,

Thanks for your recommendations. I have been making a similar soup for the last year almost on a weekly basis. I tend to load it up on greens, sweet potato or yams and ginger. I then blend it in the vita mix and make enough to last the week. I drink a couple cups a day and it is really warming, calming and healing.

It is a nice contrast to a green smoothie which tends to make me too cold if I drink more than a quart.



19 HC February 19, 2012 at 8:51 PM

This looks great! I have some of the veggies listed but switched with some that I did have (cauliflowers, grape tomatoes and green beans). Also spiced it up a little with sliced jalapenos. Made a nice homey soup to warm up my afternoon in this chilly weather. Thanks for the suggestion!


20 Elizabeth DeJager February 19, 2012 at 6:06 PM

I am leaving for AZ for two weeks. Cleaning out the refrigerator was an easy thing to do this way. Thanks.


21 melissa February 19, 2012 at 5:35 PM

hi veronica,
commenting here from the niagara basin in ontario:
just wondered about our lovely Cdn. golden beets. i have been using in soups for some time: is there any evidence that they are good blood sugar regulators? i’ve noticed, too that they do make the soup more alkaline, which i like, but i wondered if, on your travels, anyone confirmed that they do have the ability to naturally sweeten w/out a rise in blood sugar levels.

i understand they’re full of iron.


22 Veronica February 19, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Hi Melissa

A whole food should not raise your blood sugar. Even when Frederic eats just fruit or fruit smoothies he’s tested his blood sugar and it never rises after eating.

If you are eating foods with lots of fiber they will digest slower and not raise your blood sugar. There are so many vegetables in the soup and ZERO fat, so there won’t be a problem with blood sugar.


23 Phyllis February 19, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Hi Veronica,
Your homemade soup looks great. And it will be a welcome way to use left over veggies. I have one question. I am surprized you are using pasta. I thought that was considered a processed food and to be avoided, to say nothing of the high calorie count.

Please let me know your thinkiong on this.
Thank you for your wonderful recipes.



24 Veronica February 19, 2012 at 6:29 PM

I don’t know what you mean by “surprised I’m using pasta” Where does it say there is any pasta in the recipe listed? I was explaining to people how to make ANY kind of soup.

Also pasta is not the same as white bread, it has water, it is easier digested and you can get whole grain or gluten free rice pasta if desired.

There’s nothing wrong with a high calorie count of a carbohydrate food, humans are designed for carbs, so when you eat a higher calorie count meal you will eat less volume and stay full longer.


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post:

© 2011-2013 Low Fat Vegan Chef by Veronica Grace. All rights reserved.