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Dump Soup

Savannah Hawley introduces a comforting recipe to use up your leftovers

In the past several years, the public has seemingly woken up to the disturbing reality of our wasteful habits and how they are directly harming our environment. Elara Oakes outlines a variety of ways to deal with this issue; but while ensuring you’re buying only what you need is the best preventative measure against food waste, there is still the question of what to do with your leftovers and produce that is about to go off.

I love this dish because it is more than what many leftover recipes seem to be – just throwing all your almost-bad food into a skillet and grimacing whilst you eat your stir-fry imposter (a food crime that I, too, am guilty of committing). When I came across this recipe — from a friend who has been thinking of ingenious ways to waste less food since before it was cool — I was thrilled to have something that was as delicious as it was easy and affordable. Affectionately called “Dump Soup,” you might be surprised to find that this dish is incredibly warm and comforting — a meal to brighten those dreary winter days.

Do yourself a favour: stop throwing your vegetables and half-portions of grains into the bin and start throwing them into broth instead. To add another level of flavour to the soup whilst continuing to reduce waste, bake pieces of day-old bread for 20 minutes at 180C to create tasty homemade croutons.

What makes this recipe great is its flexibility, so don’t be afraid to add whichever vegetables and grains you have on hand. The purpose is to use leftovers and vegetables that aren’t at their peak freshness — so, if you have a leftover salad you think might belong in a soup, don’t hesitate to add it.

Credit is due to Karen Bates, whose inventive recipes for wasting less food could fill an entire cookbook.

Serves 8


700 ml bouillon stock/broth of choice
380 g diced tomatoes
600 g chopped vegetables or leftovers
1 can beans of choice or 150 g grain of choice (barley, quinoa, or rice is suggested)
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp herbs of choice
Pinch of salt and pepper


1. In a large stock pot or saucepan, combine all the ingredients
2. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes
3. Season to your liking and enjoy

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