I’m really getting into soup for lunch, especially now that I’ve started just drinking it out of a Mason jar. When I need to travel, I pop a lid on it and toss it in my bag; when I’m working at home, that still means less silverware to wash. Either way, my computer keyboard remains un-sticky and crumb-free.

Plus, it’s winter (ostensibly), and I’m a girl who loves her roasted root vegetables and her immersion blender. Lately, I’m also loving buttermilk for baking and salad dressings, so a little of that goes in the pot as well. You see how this works?

Soup is one of the few cooking areas where I feel safe stirring without a net because while I’m sure you can complicate soup, you can generally make it simply out of what’s around, keeping things interesting. With that in mind, here are two of my recent “what’s in the ‘fridge” weekend concoctions, all made as a way to use up ingredients from other meals I had planned to cook but then never got around to producing. I feel weird calling these “recipes,” since really they could both be reduced to your basic: Add a little fat to a pot and saute some onion or garlic or leeks and/or herbs and spices. Then, add some veggies (roasted when it suits) and broth or water. Simmer to combine flavors and soften up any ingredients that need it. Then puree and add some creaminess (milk, cream, yogurt, cheese) if you like. Garnish if you’re feeling fancy and serve hot!

However, for those who would like a little more in the way of measurement (my husband hates it when I say, “You know, just put in a little!” and yet I continue to say this kind of thing all the time), here are the specifics (more or less).

No lunch box required!

Baked Sweet Potato Soup

3 large sweet potatoes
2 T olive oil
1 cup white onion, chopped
2 tsp. Vindaloo seasoning
1/2 tsp. paprika (Mine is quite hot, so this added a nice spice punch to balance the sweetness of the potatoes without me resorting to cayenne, which I’m starting to admit I really just don’t like.)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup buttermilk
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Wash and prick sweet potatoes with a fork and set on a foil-lined baking tray. Roast till quite soft, about 60 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh and set aside. Mine popped right out of their skins with very little effort. Discard peels.

Heat oil in a soup pot and saute onion until softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add spices and continue cooking about 1 minute. Then add reserved sweet potato and vegetable broth. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and puree soup. Add buttermilk and salt, adjusting seasoning and consistency to suit your tastes.

Roasted Celeriac and Parsnip Soup

1 large celeriac, peeled and cubed
4-5 parsnips, peeled and cubed
4 T olive oil, divided
3 leeks, washed and sliced
2 tsp. curry powder (I used a grocery store one I have that is much tamer that others I use, which I felt suited the soup)
5 cups vegetable stock or water
1 cup buttermilk
salt to taste
pomegranate molasses to garnish (totally optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Line a baking tray with foil and pile cubed vegetable on top. Drizzle with 2T olive oil and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with salt if desired and roast for about 40 minutes, stirring partway through to prevent burning. Vegetables should be somewhat browned and caramelized.

In a soup pot, heat the remaining 2 T olive oil and sauté leeks until softened. Add curry powder, roasted vegetables, and the stock or water and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and puree soup. Add buttermilk and salt, adjusting seasoning and consistency to suit your tastes. I feel that a little drizzle of pomegranate molasses, if you have a bottle taking up space in your refrigerator as I do, makes a nice accent.