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Fridge Foraging for Creative Soups

When I was a younger chef, my friends used to love for me to come over and make dinner for them with what I could forage in the fridge. I always saw it as a challenge and they enjoyed learning tips on how to cook without a recipe with ingredients you have on hand.

I learned this from my restaurant days where we had to come up with a scrumptious soup or sizzling special every day. One has to develop a sense of what ingredients go together and have a few techniques in mind on how to make them interesting to the customer but not scare them.

I still fridge forage today with great delight. Our food waste is minimal and it has taught me how to still be creative with everyday ingredients. My husband sometimes is disappointed that a particular meal will never adorn the table again because it was made up of bits and pieces from previous recipes, but he knows that's the price to pay to live with a chef.

One of my favorite things to make when I forage is soup. If it's hot outside, a cool cucumber or gazpacho soup fits the bill. Cooking vegetables along with canned tomatoes in my instant pot and pureeing them gives them a silky smooth texture that can be served hot or cold.

Chilled Potato Soup is soothing on a hot day

Thai inspired red curry tomato soup is delicious at any time of the year.

Garden vegetable soup is great for general fridge foraging

Ingredients used in this recipe

Olive oil- While olive oil is a good choice, any neutral oil will work in this recipe.

Red Curry Paste- The jar or small can of red curry paste is best, sometimes you can find the envelopes with red curry paste in the international section of the grocery store.

Tomato Paste- Plain flavor is the one to use, low sodium is good too.

Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes- These give the soup a subtle, smokey taste.

Vegetable Stock- I used better than bullion vegetable paste and water as per directions on the jar

Coconut milk- All coconut milk is not created equal, It should say something like virgin or first press. Look at the ingredient labels, lots of them have fillers.

Keifer lime leaves- These really add a fresh taste to the dish but sometimes are only available as Asian grocery stores.

Subbing a teaspoon of lime zest with work if you can't find them.

Equipment needed for this recipe

Instant Pot or Heavy Bottomed Pot- I love my instant pot for this soup, but a regular 1 gallon-sized soup pot will work just fine.

Stick or Immersion blender- It works best because you can puree it right in the pot. If you let it cool, you can use a regular food processor or blender to blend until smooth.

Measuring cups and spoons- always an essential item for great results with your cooking.

Thai Inspired Red Curry Tomato Soup

Keifer lime leaves are available at well-stocked Asian grocery stores. Lime zest can substitute in a pinch.

Serves 6


1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 tablespoons Curry paste

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

2 (14-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1-quart vegetable stock

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

3 each heifer lime leaves


In a large pot, saute red curry paste in oil until it starts to separate. Add diced tomatoes, paste, lime leaves, and stock. Cook for 30 minutes and add coconut milk, season to taste.


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