Kitchen Sink Soup: The Perfect Dinner When There’s “Nothing” in the House to Eat

Ever heard of kitchen sink soup? Where you put whatever you have (but the kitchen sink) in a pot and turn it into an edible and hopefully delicious soup? Well, I have no real proof to back me up on this besides my husband’s feedback and my own ego, but I’m going to go ahead and declare myself the Queen of the Healthy Kitchen Sink Soup. I like to think it’s a skill.

Here’s last week’s kitchen sink soup (I probably make some version of kitchen sink soup every other week just to finish off what’s left in the fridge with minimal effort). I like to call it Spiced Mixed Bean, Kamut, Chicken and Kale Soup with Goat Cheese. You know, cause that just rolls off the tongue.


How to Make Kitchen Sink Soup

Like any healthy kitchen sink soup recipe, it’s pretty easy to make. First, round up random ingredients you have in your pantry and fridge that might go well together. (Remember, experimentation is the most fun part of kitchen sink soup!) Here’s what I started with:


In general, I find that having a whole grain and/or beans with veggies is pretty much all it takes. In this case though, I got super nutty and added two red potatoes we had just waiting to go bad and some ground chicken to the kitchen-sink-soup party. So after I sauteed my garlic and onions (the base of any good soup) and peppers, I got the pot a-mixing, moving and grooving.

healthy kitchen sink soup

Then, once all slightly cooked with a little olive oil, I added in the fresh tomatoes, dried beans and kamut. Now it’s really looking like a party.

kitchen sink soup

After adding a decent amount of broth and the tomato paste to cover all the goodies inside, I asked myself, “Self, what does this kitchen sink soup need that we have?” And the answer: Kale! (Nine times out of 10 this is the answer I arrive at.)

kitchen sink soup

So after adding about half of the bag of kale plus cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and a dash of crushed red pepper, I got this:

kitchen sink soup

After bringing it to a boil and letting it simmer for 90 minutes, I had tender kamut (it’s a whole grain that takes a bit to cook) and beans, and a dang healthy soup with lots of veggies, fiber and protein. I topped it with a little goat cheese (you could add a splash of hot sauce if you like things more spicy), and bam! Dinner for the week.

kitchen sink soup

The true joy of the kitchen sink soup recipe is that anything goes. As long as things are properly cooked and seasoned, you can mix darn near anything together. While I’d say garlic and onions are a must to start the soup and you do need some sort of liquid to cook it in (low-sodium chicken broth is my go-to, although water can work), the rest is pretty much up to you and what foods are hanging out in your kitchen.

I’ve never made kitchen sink soup the same way twice. I like to challenge myself to add new ingredients — whether it’s a little wine that was left over from dinner the night before, a new soy chorizo I picked up at Trader Joe’s or a spice in my pantry that rarely gets used, like 5-Spice Powder. And, I try to pack as much nutrition as I can in every bite — while still making it taste good (my husband and I may have slightly different takes on how often I achieve this goal as I have had a couple too-creative results).

Do you make any dish “kitchen sink” style? What was your biggest success? I’m sure I’m not the only one … Jenn

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  1. Meredith H. says:

    I use a different technique one of my male friends likes to call a pile-basically the same concept, but everything gets cooked in a wok! I almost always have leftover rice and some kind of protein already cooked sitting in the fridge, and I just throw some spices and whatever I have laying around in! Takes even less time than kitchen sink soup, although I’ve also had some odd results. Maybe this time I’ll try soup!

  2. Debbie says:

    Oh Jenn, I knew we were soul sisters! I am a second generation “kitchen sink souper”!. Mom says Dad (in his mid-70s mind you) always has a pot of soup marinating in the frig. Problem is, he still uses canned veggies (gads!) Wish I could get him away from cans but at least he’s cooking, right? He’s a stubborn one and won’t change but glad he has soup every day!

  3. Becky Q says:

    I call mine “Freezer Surprise” because you never know what’s going in my soup. There’s no real recipe because it’s different every time. I always keep frozen veggies. I start with beef broth and cook whatever veggies I have on hand. It’s usually broccoli, spinach, carrots – whatever I have – and yes, I ALWAYS throw in kale. Sometimes I throw in some black beans. When the veggies are tender I had a can of tomato paste and fresh tomatoes if I have some. My hubbie likes to smoke meat all the time so most of time I will toss in some brisket or chicken. Just add spices (I usually use Italian spices) and you’re done!

  4. The Souper says:

    Actually, one of my favorite “Kitchen Soup Recipes” comes from watching Jacques Pepin on one of his shows a long time ago. His family recipe from when he was a child basically uses any/all vegetables in the refrigerator at the time of cooking. His mother used to put a large pot of water on stove to get boiling while she cut/chopped any vegetable. By chopping the vegetables in small pieces, the soup cooked faster.She added a handful of small pasta or grain to thicken the soup. They ate chunks of baguette with the vegetable soup and added cheese to melt into the soup, too.
    I have made this soup several times and found adding canned, chopped tomatoes and spices to round out a good flavor.

    The Souper

  5. I’ve tried everything to lose weight and be happy – everything failed. The pills, the fads, everything. Then I discovered the importance of food – correct food to be exact. I try to inform people on my blog regarding my findings.

  6. Melissa says:

    I thought Freezer Surprise was MY thing! Frozen veggies make it so easy. I’m usually veg. broth, spinach or kale, beans, chickpeas and/or rice then what’s in the freezer. Frozen corn, butternut squash chunks…it’s all good. I just throw it all in together and heat it up. Fresh herbs if I have them. Grated parm of that’s in the fridge.. It’s hard to screw it up. Who knew I had so much company!

  7. Anita says:

    Great article, Jenn, and so happy to see I’m not the only one just throwing things into a pot and seeing what happens! There definitely is a science, as you mentioned… grains, beans, veggies, broth, and some kind of flavour. Thanks for the idea about kale!

  8. Sophie says:

    omg this is superb idea! loves your kitchen sink soup!

  9. Eveline says:

    This actually looks pretty good. I’ve never thought about making soup of my leftovers. Good idea!

  10. Remi says:

    Looks so good and healthy! Thanks 🙂