My husband told me I need a new name for this recipe. I have to disagree. The name of this recipe embodies all that made my gram, my gram. She was a master at making something out of nothing. She never threw anything away. A product of the Great Depression, she knew how to use every last bit of what she had on hand, and if she didn’t have what she needed, she improvised in the most ingenious ways. I can only hope to learn to be half as frugal as she was. This recipe is one she made every summer with the extra produce from her garden. It’s what she made when the tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, and green beans were “coming out of her ears”. She called it garbage soup because it included what was leftover or unwanted. I call it delicious. And I find it incredible that such a simple list of ingredients can yield such a FANTASTIC flavor.

Garbage Soup 2

Grandma Faust’s Garbage Soup

Ingredients (this list is a mere suggestion. Tweek as needed depending on what’s in your garden.)

  • 7-8 tomatoes (cut into chunks)
  • 1 onion  (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1-2 zucchini (chopped)
  • 1-2 yellow squash (chopped)
  • 1-2 bell peppers (chopped))
  • 1/2 pound (or more) green beans (cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • salt and pepper

Brown the sausage in a large soup pot. If you’re using links, cook them mostly through then slice them up. If you’re using ground sausage, break it up as it cooks.

Chop all your veggies while the sausage cooks.

Add the onion and garlic to the meat. Sautee until it’s soft.

Add everything else to the pot.


Put a lid on it, and bring to a boil. The tomatoes will make a rich broth as they cook down. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour or more, stirring when you remember. The veggies should be nice and tender. The tomatoes will lose most of their shape. If you’re picky about tomato skins, you can peel them first…Grandma didn’t bother.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for 15 minutes more (or longer…this is not rocket science :)

Serve with fresh bread and you’ve got yourselves a perfect summer lunch or supper. I made my favorite artisan bread recipe to go with it.

garbage soup 3



I’m already ready to make another batch! Hope you enjoy Grandma’s Garbage Soup as much as I do!


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