Easy Vegetarian Minestrone

This easy Vegetarian Minestrone Soup is hearty, chock full of vegetables, budget friendly, meal prep ready, and super flexible!

The post Easy Vegetarian Minestrone appeared first on Budget Bytes.

As we move from colder weather to warmer days, a good soup like Minestrone is a must. This hearty, vegetable-filled soup is warm and soothing, but light enough to not make you feel weighed down as you’re out enjoying these beautiful days. Plus, this Vegetarian Minestrone ticks all of my Budget Bytes boxes: easy, inexpensive, flexible, and meal prep friendly!

Close up overhead shot of vegetarian minestrone in the pot with a ladle

Isn’t All Minestrone Soup Vegetarian?

There are a LOT of interpretations of Minestrone out there, but they often include a Parmesan rind to infuse more umami flavor into the broth. Parmesan is one of the few cheeses that is not considered vegetarian because it contains animal rennet. And since I didn’t have a Parmesan rind on hand, this particular recipe is a vegetarian minestrone. But by all means, if you have a Parmesan rind on hand and aren’t concerned about keeping the soup vegetarian, add it to the soup before it simmers! You won’t be disappointed.

Some people also add a little bit of meat to their Minestrone. Pancetta or bacon are great options (brown in the pot before adding the vegetables) for adding a touch more flavor.

Where’s the Pasta??

Minestrone soup often has some sort of pasta or grain to make the soup extra hearty. Since pasta can get mushy when it swims around in soup for too long, I decided to avoid that issue and just sub some extra beans (chickpeas) to add that extra heartiness without having to deal with soggy pasta.

If you want to add some pasta to your minestrone, just choose any small shaped pasta like ditalini, small shells, or orzo. Add about 1 cup of the uncooked pasta and an extra 2 cups of water to the soup, then boil until the pasta is tender.

What Other Vegetables Can I Add to Minestrone?

My favorite thing about Minestrone is that it is SUPER flexible. If you don’t like one or more of the vegetables in my recipe below, feel free to use one of these instead:

  • Celery
  • Sweet Potato
  • Russet Potato
  • Fennel
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Butternut Squash
  • Peas
Overhead view of a bowl of vegetarian minestrone with a spoon in the middle
Overhead view of a bowl of vegetarian minestrone with a spoon in the middle

Vegetarian Minestrone

This easy Vegetarian Minestrone Soup is hearty, chock full of vegetables, budget friendly, meal prep ready, and super flexible! 
Total Cost $5.96 recipe / $0.99 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 about 1.5 cups each
Calories 313.55kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 4 carrots $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.10
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes $1.00
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans $0.75
  • 1 15oz. can chickpeas $1.00
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.30
  • 4 cups vegetable broth $0.52
  • 1 zucchini (about 1/2 lb.) $0.71
  • 1 cup frozen green beans $0.30
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.06
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional) $0.10

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and slice the carrots. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and carrots to a large soup pot. Sauté over medium heat until the onions become soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the tomato paste to the pot and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot (do not let it burn).
  • Rinse and drain the kidney beans and chickpeas, and then add them to the pot along with the diced tomatoes (with juices), Italian Seasoning, and vegetable broth. Give everything a good stir, place a lid on top, and allow it to come up to a simmer. Allow the soup to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the soup is simmering, slice the zucchini into quarter-rounds. After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the sliced zucchini and frozen green beans (no need to thaw first). Stir and simmer the soup for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the zucchini just begin to soften.
  • Finish the soup by adding lemon juice and chopped parsley. Give it a taste and add extra salt if needed (my soup did not need any extra salt, but it may depending on the type of broth used). Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping!

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 313.55kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.08g | Protein: 14.1g | Fat: 8.55g | Sodium: 1008.55mg | Fiber: 11.32g
Overhead view of a pot full of vegetarian minestrone

How to Make Vegetarian Minestrone – Step by Step Photos

Chopped onion, carrots, and garlic in a soup pot with olive oil

Dice one yellow onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and slice four carrots. Add the onion, garlic, and carrots to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

Tomato paste in the pot with vegetables

Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste to the pot and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or just until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.

Beans, herbs, tomatoes, and broth added to the soup pot

Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of kidney beans and one 15oz. can of chickpeas. Add the beans to the pot along with one 28oz. can diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, and 4 cups vegetable broth. Give everything a stir, place a lid on top, and allow it to come up to a simmer. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sliced zucchini on a cutting board

While the soup is simmering, slice one zucchini (about ½ lb.) into quarter-rounds.

Zucchini and green beans added to the soup

Once the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the sliced zucchini and 1 cup frozen green beans (no need to thaw first). Stir everything together and let it continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes more, or until the zucchini just begins to soften.

Chopped parsley and lemon juice added to the soup

Finish the soup off with 1 Tbsp lemon juice and about a tablespoon of chopped parsley. Give the soup a taste and add salt if needed. I did not add any extra salt to my soup, but you may need some depending on the salt content of your broth.

Front view of a bowl full of vegetarian minestrone with a spoon lifting a bite

So much vegetable goodness!!

The post Easy Vegetarian Minestrone appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Unstuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers are awesome, but I always find them slightly awkward or difficult to eat. Can’t I just throw the ingredients in a bowl and eat it with a fork?! (I feel that way about a lot of food, TBH). So that’s what I ended up doing! These super simple unstuffed bell peppers are […]

The post Unstuffed Bell Peppers appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Stuffed bell peppers are awesome, but I always find them slightly awkward or difficult to eat. Can’t I just throw the ingredients in a bowl and eat it with a fork?! (I feel that way about a lot of food, TBH). So that’s what I ended up doing! These super simple unstuffed bell peppers are cooked in one skillet to make your (my) life super easy and delicious. #yesplease

Originally posted 8-13-2014, updated 2-4-2021.

Overhead view of unstuffed bell peppers in the skillet with a spoon.

Can I Use Cauliflower Rice Instead of White Rice?

Unfortunately, you can not swap out cauliflower rice for the white rice in this recipe. Cauliflower rice releases liquid as it cooks, whereas white rice absorbs it, so you’ll end up with a stuffed bell pepper soup. :) But hey, that actually doesn’t sound so bad! You can also try using cauli rice and skipping the broth, but you’ll be missing a lot of flavor with that option.

Can I Freeze Unstuffed Bell Peppers?

Yes, this recipe freezes great! Make sure to divide the skillet into single serving portions just after cooking, and chill them completely in the refrigerator before transferring to the freezer. Once frozen, they’ll keep in the freezer for about three months and can be reheated in the microwave straight from the freezer (use the defrost setting first, then high until heated through).

Tips for Making One-Pot Rice Dishes

Even cooking plain rice on the stovetop can be a bit challenging for some folks, and when you add in other ingredients it can end up a little more tricky. To make sure your rice cooks thoroughly and evenly, keep these things in mind:

  • Cookware: A really good quality (thick and heavy) skillet is really important for making this recipe work correctly. Heavy cookware conducts heat really evenly so the sides of your skillet will cook at the same rate as the part that is right above the flame. If it’s a thin skillet, it might scorch right in the center and leave the outer edges uncooked. If you don’t have a good skillet, a dutch oven or heavy soup pot would also work well.
  • Heat level: Another key to cooking rice is making sure the water in the pot (or skillet) is simmering the whole time, but the heat is not so high that it burns on the bottom. So once you’ve got everything in the pot and have already brought everything up to a boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting that still maintains a light simmer. Since this can vary from stove to stove and the type of cookware you’re using, you’ll need to adjust this based on what you’re hearing and seeing in the pot. Once you get the hang of it, though, it will be easy!
  • Use a burner close in size to the bottom of your pot or skillet. If you’re using a wide bottomed pot or skillet over a very small burner, the outside edges of your pot or skillet may not receive enough heat to simmer and cook the rice through. 

Close up side view of unstuffed bell peppers in the skillet

Love skillet meals? Check out my Chorizo Sweet Potato Skillet, Creamy Chicken and Rice Skillet, or One Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice.

Close up side view of unstuffed bell peppers in the skillet

Unstuffed Bell Peppers

All the ingredients and flavor of stuffed bell peppers cooked in one skillet for an easy, free-form bowl meal. It's UNstuffed Bell Peppers!
Total Cost $8.02 recipe / $1.34 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 1 ⅓ cups each
Calories 320.53kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 bell peppers $1.53
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.85
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes $1.00
  • 1 cup long grain white rice (uncooked) $0.62
  • 1 tsp dried basil $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1.5 cups beef broth $0.07
  • 1 8oz. can tomato sauce $0.26
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.01
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella $0.85
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional garnish) $0.05

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and dice the onion and bell pepper.
  • Add the olive oil and ground beef to a deep skillet. Cook the beef over medium heat until it is fully browned.
  • Add the diced onion, bell pepper, minced garlic, basil, oregano, and pepper to the skillet. Continue to cook and stir until the onions are soft.
  • Next, add the diced tomatoes (with juices), uncooked rice, and beef broth. Give everything a brief stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the broth to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, lid still in place, for another five minutes.
  • While the pot is simmering, combine the tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Once the rice has rested for 5 minutes, remove the lid and fluff it with a fork, gently folding the ingredients back together (peppers and tomatoes may float to the top while it simmers).
  • Pour the prepared tomato sauce over top, then sprinkled the shredded mozzarella over the sauce. Place the lid back on top and let the heat from the skillet melt the mozzarella. Once melted, sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.33cups | Calories: 320.53kcal | Carbohydrates: 35.55g | Protein: 15.75g | Fat: 12.78g | Sodium: 646.32mg | Fiber: 3.88g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A fork lifting some rice and cheese from a bowl of unstuffed bell peppers

How to Make Unstuffed Bell Peppers – Step by Step Photos

browned ground beef with diced onion, bell pepper, and herbs

Mince one clove of garlic and dice a yellow onion and bell pepper. Add ½ lb. ground beef to a deep skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook the ground beef over medium heat until it has fully browned. Add the diced bell pepper, onion, garlic, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, and about ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper to the skillet. Continue to cook and stir until the onions are soft.

Tomatoes, rice, and broth added to the skillet.

Next, add one 15oz. can of diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice, and 1.5 cups beef broth to the skillet. 

Combined ingredients in the skillet

Give everything a brief stir to combine. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the broth to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, lid still in place, for an additional 5 minutes.

Worcestershire sauce being added to tomato sauce

While the rice is simmering, prepare the tomato sauce. Combine one 8oz. can of tomato sauce with 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Set the sauce aside.

Rice being fluffed with a fork in the skillet

After the rice has rested for five minutes, remove the lid and fluff it with a fork, gently folding the tomatoes and peppers back into the rice.

Cheese being added to the skillet

Pour the prepared tomato sauce over the rice in the skillet, then top with 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Place the lid back on the skillet and let the residual heat melt the cheese.

finished unstuffed bell peppers in the skillet topped with parsley

Top with chopped parsley, if desired, and serve!

Unstuffed Bell Peppers skillet with lid on the side

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Chicken Fajita Soup

Warm up with a bowl of Chicken Fajita Soup loaded with your favorite toppings. All of your favorite fajita flavors are combined in an easy and comforting soup that’s perfect for weeknights or easy entertaining. Some chilly days just demand a bowl…

Warm up with a bowl of Chicken Fajita Soup loaded with your favorite toppings. All of your favorite fajita flavors are combined in an easy and comforting soup that’s perfect for weeknights or easy entertaining. Some chilly days just demand a bowl of soup! Luckily, one of my family’s favorite soup recipes is also one…

The post Chicken Fajita Soup appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes and chili are totally made for each other. The subtle sweetness of the sweet potatoes perfectly contrasts the smoky, spicy flavor of the chili. Add a little creamy cheese on top and you’ve got the perfect trifecta! These Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes are an easy, pre-portioned meal that is filling, delicious, and […]

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Sweet potatoes and chili are totally made for each other. The subtle sweetness of the sweet potatoes perfectly contrasts the smoky, spicy flavor of the chili. Add a little creamy cheese on top and you’ve got the perfect trifecta! These Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes are an easy, pre-portioned meal that is filling, delicious, and works great for weekly meal prep!

Originally posted 12-21-2015, updated 2-25-2020.

Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes

Four turkey chili smothered sweet potatoes in a small white baking dish.

Can I Use Beef Instead?

Absolutely! The chili included in this recipe is basically a half batch of my basic Homemade Chili recipe, which is extremely customizable. You can swap out the protein, make it spicy or mild (reduce or eliminate the cayenne), or add other fun ingredients, like cocoa powder!

Can I Make them Vegetarian?

Yes, simply swap the 1/2 lb. of ground turkey for an extra can of black beans, or kidney beans, and you have a super delish vegetarian chili to top your sweet potatoes. :)

How do I Meal Prep These Sweet Potatoes?

After stuffing your sweet potatoes with chili and cheese, simply pack each one into an individual, microwave safe container. To reheat, simply microwave on high for about 2 minutes, or until heated through.

A fork digging into a turkey chili smothered sweet potato, on a white plate

 

Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes

Tender baked sweet potatoes smothered with turkey and bean chili, then topped with melty cheddar. Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes are an easy dinner!

CHILI

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey ($2.00)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes ($0.59)
  • 3 oz. tomato paste (1/2 of a 6oz. can) ($0.25)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans ($0.79)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder ($0.30)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin ($0.05)
  • 1 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt ($0.02)

POTATOES AND TOPPINGS

  • 4 small sweet potatoes (3/4 lb. each) ($3.94)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($0.43)
  • Cilantro or green onions for garnish ($0.25)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash the sweet potatoes well, then prick the skins several times with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and bake for 60 minutes, or until soft and oozing from the fork holes.

  2. While the sweet potatoes are baking, prepare the small batch of chili. Add the ground turkey and olive oil to a large pot. Sauté the turkey over medium heat. While the turkey is cooking, dice the yellow onion and mince the garlic. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and continue to sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.

  3. Drain the beans and add them to the pot along with the diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and water. Stir to combine. Allow the chili to come up to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let simmer until the sweet potatoes have finished baking, stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp).

  4. Once the sweet potatoes are finished baking, carefully slice each one open lengthwise and slightly mash the insides. Spoon about 3/4 cup chili over each potato, then top with 2 Tbsp shredded cheddar. Return the potatoes to the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Top with cilantro or sliced green onions just before serving.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Front view of four turkey chili stuffed sweet potatoes in a small white baking dish

 

How to Make Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – Step by Step Photos

Sweet potatoes in a baking dish rubbed in oil and pricked with a fork

Begin by preheating the oven to 400ºF. Wash four small sweet potatoes (about 3/4 lb. each). Prick the skins of each potato several times with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, then bake the sweet potatoes in the preheated oven for about 60 minutes, or until they’re soft all the way through and are oozing sugary juice from the fork holes.

Cooked ground turkey, onion, and garlic in a pot

While the sweet potatoes are baking, prepare the small batch of chili. Add 1/2 lb. ground turkey and 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large pot. Sauté the turkey over medium heat. While the turkey is cooking, dice the yellow onion and mince 2 cloves garlic. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and continue to sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.

Tomatoes, beans, spices, and water added to the pot.

Drain one 15oz. can black beans and add them to the pot along with one 15oz. can diced tomatoes (with juices), 3oz. tomato paste, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp cumin, and 1 cup water. Stir to combine. 

Finished turkey chili in the pot

Allow the chili to come up to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let simmer until the sweet potatoes have finished baking, stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp).

Baked sweet potatoes in the baking dish with some juices bubbling out of the fork holes

Test the sweet potatoes to make sure they are baked all the way through by piercing with a fork or a small knife. The potatoes should be soft all the way through, and juices should be bubbling out of the fork holes that were made before baking.

Opened and mashed sweet potatoes in the baking dish

Once the sweet potatoes are baked and soft all the way through , slice them open lengthwise and slightly mash the inside of the sweet potatoes.

Turkey chili being spooned into the open sweet potatoes

Scoop about 3/4 cup turkey chili onto each sweet potato.

Sweet potatoes topped with cheddar

Add a couple tablespoons of shredded cheddar to each potato, then return the baking sheet to the oven for just a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Turkey chili smothered sweet potatoes with melted cheese and topped with cilantro

Finally, top with a little chopped cilantro or sliced green onions (or hey, sour cream?) just before serving.

Side view of turkey chili smothered sweet potatoes in a baking dish, topped with green onion and cilantro

And then you have four incredibly delicious, single portion sized Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes! Bonus, I had some chili left over that will serve as an extra meal for me. :)

Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes - BudgetBytes.com

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Swamp Soup

Despite its “swampy” appearance, this soup is simply one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. If you like tomato soup, you’ll adore Swamp Soup. It’s like tomato soup on steroids and with a grilled cheese built right in. The broth is incredibly thick and hearty, it’s full of tons of vegetables that add texture […]

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Despite its “swampy” appearance, this soup is simply one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. If you like tomato soup, you’ll adore Swamp Soup. It’s like tomato soup on steroids and with a grilled cheese built right in. The broth is incredibly thick and hearty, it’s full of tons of vegetables that add texture and flavor, and let’s not forget those creamy, gooey bits of swiss cheese in every other bite. It’s TO DIE FOR.

Originally posted 12-21-10, updated 1-9-20.

Swamp Soup – Tomato Soup’s Flashier Cousin

Two bowls of swamp soup from above with oyster crackers and a bowl of swiss cheese cubes on the side

Soup-er Fast, Soup-er Good.

My favorite thing about this soup is that it’s incredibly fast and easy. It’s ready to eat as soon as it’s heated through, although you can always let it simmer a bit longer, if you want. And if you have some chopped carrots and celery stashed in your freezer (scroll down to the step by step photos if you’re wondering why you’d ever have that in your freezer), it goes even faster!

How to Serve Swamp Soup

As mentioned above, this soup has melty chunks of Swiss cheese floating around in every bowl. While you can add the Swiss cheese to the whole pot, if you don’t plan to serve it all in one sitting, I suggest adding the cheese to each bowl just before serving (after reheating). You’ll probably also want some sort of cracker or crusty bread for dipping!

Can I freeze it?

Yes indeed! This soup is great for stocking your freezer. After cooking, divide your soup into single servings, cool it completely in the refrigerator over night, then transfer to the freezer the next day. You can freeze in quart-sized freezer bags or any freezer-safe meal prep container.

Substitutes for Swiss Cheese

I love the subtle flavor of Swiss with this soup, but if Swiss isn’t your jam you can use mozzarella instead. Mozzarella melts in a similar way to Swiss, so you’ll get the same effect in the soup. Plus, mozzarella also goes great with tomato. If you don’t care about the melty aspect, a little crumbled feta would also be amazing sprinkled onto every bowl.

A red soup pot full of Swamp Soup with a bowl of Swiss cheese cubes on the side

Love tomato soup? Check out my Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup, too!

 

Swamp Soup

A thick, tomatoey vegetable soup with "swampy" bits of spinach and gooey swiss cheese make this unconventional Swamp Soup unforgettable!

  • 3 cloves garlic ($0.24)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 1/2 lb. carrots (about 4 medium) ($0.30)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.46)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil ($0.30)
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano ($0.30)
  • 3 8oz. cans tomato sauce ($0.75)
  • 3 15oz. cans diced tomatoes ($1.35)
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth ($0.20)
  • 1 10oz. pkg frozen chopped spinach ($0.99)
  • 8 oz. Swiss cheese ($1.69)
  1. Mince the garlic, dice the onion, peel and slice the carrots, and slice the celery. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to a large soup pot with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat for about five minutes, or until the onions are soft.

  2. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (with juices), vegetable broth, basil, and oregano to the pot. Stir to combine, then allow the soup to come to a simmer.

  3. Once the soup is simmering, add the frozen spinach (no need to thaw). Stir the spinach into the hot soup until it has melted and heated through.

  4. Once the spinach is thoroghly mixed into the soup, give the soup a taste and add salt if needed. I did not add any, but this will ultimately depend on the sodium content of your canned goods and vegetable broth.

  5. Dice the swiss cheese into small cubes. Add a small handful of cubes to each bowl, then ladle the hot soup over top. Serve and enjoy!

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up of a bowl of Swamp Soup with a spoon lifting a bit and melted Swiss cheese pulling from the bowl

 

How to Make Swamp Soup – Step By Step Photos

Chopped onion, celery, carrots, and minced garlic in the soup pot

Dice one yellow onion, peel and slice 1/2 lb. carrots (about four carrots), slice three ribs celery, and mince 3 cloves of garlic. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil.

Pre-chopped carrot and celery in a freezer bag

Since most of my soups begin with 1/2 lb. chopped carrot and 3-4 ribs of celery, I just go ahead and chop up the rest of my carrots and the bunch of celery, and freeze it for the next time I make a soup. That way I don’t have to do as much chopping later. I just dump the bag of frozen veggies into my soup pot and go!

Sautéed vegetables in soup pot

Sauté the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic over medium for about five minutes, or until the onions are soft.

Add tomatoes, herbs, and vegetable broth to soup pot

Next, add three 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce, three 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 Tbsp dried basil, 1 Tbsp dried oregano, and 1.5 cups vegetable broth to the pot. Stir to combine, then allow the soup to come up to a simmer.

Simmered soup with frozen spinach added

Once the soup comes up to a simmer, add a 10 oz. block of frozen chopped spinach (no need to thaw). You can use frozen bagged spinach, too, just estimate about 10 oz. Stir the spinach into the soup until it thaws and heats through.

Taste finished soup

Once the soup is heated through, give it a taste and add salt if needed. Mine did not need any additional salt, but that will depend on your taste buds and the salt content of your canned goods and vegetable broth.

Adding Swiss cheese to soup pot

Chop an 8 oz. block of Swiss cheese into small cubes. If you’re going to serve the entire pot of soup at one sitting, go ahead and stir the cubes of cheese into the soup pot (with the heat turned off). The residual heat will melt the cubes. If you’re going to be eating one or two bowls at a time, add the cheese cubes to each bowl, then ladle the hot soup over top.

A ladle full of Swamp Soup being lifted from the soup pot, viewed from the side

Sooooo gooey and good!

Two bowls of Swamp Soup with a bowl of Swiss cheese on the side, plus a few oyster crackers

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Vegetable Barley Soup

Can’t stop, won’t stop with the yummy soups over here! Soup is easy, soup is filling, soup is an easy way to pack some more vegetables into your day, and soup (usually) freezes well. This week I’m bringing you this awesome Vegetable Barley Soup that is packed with tons of color, texture, and flavor. And […]

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Can’t stop, won’t stop with the yummy soups over here! Soup is easy, soup is filling, soup is an easy way to pack some more vegetables into your day, and soup (usually) freezes well. This week I’m bringing you this awesome Vegetable Barley Soup that is packed with tons of color, texture, and flavor. And thanks to a healthy dose of barley, it’s also super filling. I’m so glad this recipe makes a huge batch because I’m going to be living off the frozen leftovers of this soup for the rest of winter!!

Homemade Vegetable Barley Soup

Overhead view of Vegetable Barley Soup in a red pot with bread and parsley on the side

What is Barley?

Barley is a short, chewy grain that is great in soups, stews, salads, pilafs, and more. You can usually find it in the grain section of your grocery store, near rice and dry beans. It’s usually labeled “pearled barley” which simply means the outer husk and some of the bran has been removed. Barley does contain a small amount of gluten, so it is not considered a gluten-free food. 

Can I Substitute the Barley?

Yep! If you’re not into barley or can’t find it, you can use another grain, like farro or wheat berries, or even pasta. A small shape, like ditalini would be awesome.

Can I Use Other Vegetables?

The beauty of this Vegetable Barley Soup is that it is extremely versatile. You can add just about any vegetable to this soup, which makes it great for using up odds and ends of vegetables in your refrigerator and freezer. I used onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, carrots, potato, frozen green beans, frozen corn, and frozen peas, but you could also substitute or add in any of these vegetables:

  • Celery (add in the beginning with onion)
  • Zucchini (add at the end with green beans and peas)
  • Spinach (add at the very end, stir in until wilted)
  • Mushrooms (add in the beginning with onion)
  • Cabbage (add in the beginning with carrots)
  • Kale (add mid-way, with potatoes)
  • Beans (kidney, chickpeas, cannellini, add mid-way with potatoes)

Broth Matters

Vegetable broth carries a lot of the flavor in this soup, so make sure you use a quality vegetable broth, or one that you know you like. As always, I use Better Than Bouillon soup base to make my broth. It is full-flavored and I can mix up any amount I need when I’m cooking, without having leftovers go to waste.

Close up of a ladle full of Vegetable Barley Soup being held over the soup pot.

How Much Vegetable Barley Soup Does This Make?

This recipe makes a whopping 12 cups, which I would consider to be about 6 large 2-cup servings. Since the soup is mostly vegetables, I usually go with a slightly larger serving size. This is also a very thick soup once finished, so if you prefer it to be a little more brothy, you can add more vegetable broth and the yield will be even higher.

Can You Freeze Vegetable Soup?

Yes! This soup freezes great. Some people find that potatoes change in texture slightly when frozen and thawed, but it’s not something that I’ve ever noticed or that has bothered me, especially when in a soup.

What Do You Serve with Vegetable Barley Soup?

This soup is just asking for a nice piece of buttered crusty bread for dipping! I would go with something with a lot of texture, like a homemade no knead bread, cornbread, or sour dough. I wouldn’t even be against dropping a few cubes of Swiss cheese into this soup, for a little melty goodness in each bite!

Close up side view of Vegetable Barley Soup in the soup pot

 

Vegetable Barley Soup

Loaded with colorful vegetables and filling pearled barley, this Vegetable Barley Soup is a healthy, freezer-friendly staple recipe for winter!

  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1/2 lb. carrots (about 4) ($0.45)
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes ($1.59)
  • 1 cup pearled barley ($0.89)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.05)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth ($0.78)
  • 1 russet potato (about 3/4 lb.) ($1.22)
  • 1 cup frozen green beans ($0.271)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn ($0.10)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas ($0.19)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.03)
  • 1 handful fresh parsley (optional garnish) ($0.20)
  1. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and olive oil to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent.

  2. Meanwhile, peel and dice the carrots. Once the onions are soft, add the carrots to the soup pot, along with the canned diced tomatoes (with juices), barley, basil, oregano, some freshly cracked pepper, and vegetable broth.

  3. Stir the contents of the pot to combine, place a lid on top, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the broth up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the soup simmer, with the lid in place, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

  4. While the soup simmers, peel and dice the potato into 1/2-inch cubes. After the soup has simmered and the barley is mostly tender, add the diced potatoes and continue to simmer for 10 minutes more, or just until the potatoes are tender.

  5. Once the potatoes are tender, add the frozen green beans, corn, and peas. Stir to combine, and heat through (about 5 minutes in the simmering soup).

  6. Finally, add the lemon juice to the soup and stir to combine. Taste the soup and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking. Serve hot, with fresh chopped parsley on top as a garnish, if desired.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Front view of a ladle full of Vegetable Barley Soup hovering over the pot full of soup.

 

How to Make Vegetable Barley Soup – Step by Step Photos

Diced onion and minced garlic in the soup pot

Dice one onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the onion and garlic to a large soup pot (mine is 6 qt.) along with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent.

Broth being poured into soup pot with vegetables and barley

While the onion and garlic are cooking, peel and slice 1/2 lb. of carrots (about 4 medium carrots). Add the carrots to the soup pot along with one 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 cup pearled barley, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, some freshly cracked pepper, and 6 cups of vegetable broth. Stir to combine.

Diced potatoes being poured into soup

Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the soup up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer, lid in place, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. While the soup simmers, peel and dice a russet potato into 1/2-inch cubes. After simmering 30 minutes, add the diced potato and simmer 10 minutes more.

Frozen vegetables being poured into the soup

After simmering 10 minutes, the potatoes should be tender. Add 1 cup frozen green beans, 1/2 cup frozen peas, and 1/2 cup frozen corn to the soup. Stir to combine, and heat through (about 5 minutes).

Season finished vegetable barley soup

Finally, stir 1 Tbsp lemon juice into the soup. Give it a taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking (I added a touch more pepper, but no salt). Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

Overhead view of a pot full of vegetable barley soup with bread on the side

YUMMMM. Vegetable-y goodness got me all warm and cozy!

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