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.

Tomato Lentil Soup

There’s nothing quite like the smell of a pot of soup simmering away on the stove top when it’s cold and blustery outside. This tomato lentil soup is full of vegetables and herbs for a simple, flavorful, and warming winter soup.

The post Tomato Lentil Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a pot of soup simmering away on the stove top when it’s cold and wintry outside. The smell alone warms me from the inside out. This week I was craving a simple vegetable forward soup, so I whipped up this really easy Tomato Lentil Soup. I’ve been enjoying the leftovers for days, sometimes with a grilled cheese on the side. :)

Tomato lentil soup in the pot with bread and vegetables on the sides
Garnished with a little fresh parsley for visual appeal.

What Does Tomato Lentil Soup Taste Like?

This soup kind of tastes like a traditional vegetable soup, but with a slightly more tomato-y broth, plus a little earthiness from the lentils. It’s super hearty and comforting, which is exactly what I love about a good bowl of soup in the winter!

What Kind of Lentils Should I Use?

Lentils can be confusing, especially since there isn’t a lot of consistency in labeling in the United States. I used a basic brown lentil, which has a drab brown-olive color and cooks with about 20 minutes of simmering. Sometimes these lentils are labeled “green lentils” sometimes just “lentils” so to be sure you have the right kind, check the cooking instructions on the package. It should say to simmer for about 20 minutes, not 45 minutes.

I do not suggest using a red, orange, or yellow lentil for this soup because they break down too easily and you’ll end up with something more along the lines of a lentil porridge than a lentil soup. :) (It would probably still taste good, though!)

How are the Leftovers?

One of the reasons I love soup is because they almost always make great leftovers, and this soup is no exception. The leftovers will stay good in the fridge for about 4-5 days, or you can freeze it for longer storage. I always suggest dividing the soup into single portions just after cooking so it cools down more quickly in the refrigerator, which will give you more longevity with the leftovers. Once cooled you can transfer some to the freezer for later!

A bowl of tomato lentil sup with bread on the side
A bowl of tomato lentil sup with bread on the side

Tomato Lentil Soup

This tomato lentil soup is full of vegetables and herbs for a simple, flavorful, and warming winter soup. Makes great leftovers!
Total Cost $4.74 recipe / $0.79 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 1.5 cups each
Calories 279.58kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 3 carrots $0.42
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 russet potato (about 1 lb.) $0.60
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.10
  • 2 15oz. cans stewed tomatoes $1.18
  • 1 cup brown lentils $0.67
  • ½ tsp paprika $0.10
  • ½ tsp dried basil $0.10
  • ½ tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 4 cups vegetable broth $0.52
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce $0.12

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and slice the carrots (I like smaller pieces for this recipe, so I do a quarter round slice). Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and olive oil to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the oniosn are soft. While the vegetables are cooking, peel and dice the potato into ½-inch cubes.
  • Add the tomato paste and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the cubed potato, stewed tomatoes (with juices), paprika, basil, oregano, pepper, and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on top and allow the soup to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the soup simmer for about 40 minutes or until the lentils are super tender and have begun to break down slightly (this helps thicken the soup).
  • Add the soy sauce to the soup, then give it a taste and adjust the salt if needed (the total amount will depend on the salt content of your vegetable broth). Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 279.58kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.58g | Protein: 12.17g | Fat: 5.65g | Sodium: 1148.67mg | Fiber: 7.48g
Close up side view of tomato lentil soup in the pot

How to Make Tomato Lentil Soup – Step by Step Photos

Onions carrots and garlic in a soup pot

Dice one onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and slice three carrots. I like to do smaller pieces of carrot for this soup, so I cut the slices into quarter rounds. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium until the onions are soft. While the carrot and onion are sautéing, peel and dice one russet potato into ½-inch cubes.

Tomato paste added to the soup pot

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

Potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, seasoning, and broth added to the pot

Add the cubed potato, two 15oz. cans of stewed tomatoes (with juices), 1 cup lentils (not cooked), ½ tsp paprika, ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp pepper, and 4 cups vegetable broth.

Soup in the pot before simmering

Stir everything to combine. Place a lid on top and bring the soup up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft and have begun to break down a bit.

Finished tomato lentil soup

After simmering the soup, stir in 2 Tbsp soy sauce. Taste the soup and adjust the salt if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth. I did not add any in addition to the soy sauce).

front view of a bowl full of tomato lentil soup

Serve hot with some crusty bread for dipping! (I garnished with a little parsley for color, but it’s not needed to flavor this soup.)

The post Tomato Lentil Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant. I usually reserve this bowl of warm comfort for restaurants because it’s a soup that takes time and patience to make. But I’ve come to realize that although it is a slow process, it’s still ridiculously simple and inexpensive, so it’s totally worth the effort.

The post French Onion Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

French Onion Soup is one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant. I usually reserve this bowl of warm comfort for restaurants because it’s a soup that takes time and patience to make. But I’ve come to realize that although it is a slow process, it’s still ridiculously simple and inexpensive, so it’s totally worth the effort. I encourage you to make a pot of this incredible French Onion Soup on your next day off while you’re relaxing with a movie or folding some laundry. I think you’ll be glad you did!

One bowl of french onion soup garnished with fresh thyme, spoon on the side

What is French Onion Soup?

If you’ve never had the pleasure, French Onion Soup is made with sweet caramelized onions, beef broth, and herbs. The soup is usually topped with a piece of toasted bread and a generous heap of cheese, which are then broiled to perfection. So with every spoonful you get a piece of bread soaked with flavorful broth, melty cheese, and sweet-savory onions. It’s pretty epic.

Don’t Take Shortcuts with Caramelization

It’s so so so so important to properly caramelize the onions when making French Onion Soup (see the step by step photos below for a visual reference). The deep flavor of the caramelized onion is what gives this soup its characteristic flavor. If you take shortcuts with this step it will show in the color and flavor of your soup.

Caramelizing onions, especially this quantity of onions, is a slow process and it takes a lot of time. Like an hour or more. If you stop too soon your soup will be lacking. If you try to go too fast you risk burning the onions not getting that sweet jammy flavor. Just go slow. It’s worth it.

Broth Matters

The other key to making a really good pot of French Onion Soup is using a really flavorful broth. If you know me then you know I love Better Than Bouillon so I used that to make my broth for this soup. But if you have access to a really good beef stock or bone broth that would also be incredible. Just make sure you use a broth that you know has good flavor.

What Else Can I Add?

I made this French Onion Soup as simple as possible while still retaining its rich flavor. But if you want to go above and beyond you can try adding a couple other ingredients.

Wine – Try deglazing the pot (after adding the flour) with about 1/2 cup wine before adding the beef broth. You can use either a dry white wine or a red wine, depending on whether you want your soup to have a lighter touch (white wine) or a richer flavor (red wine).

Sweet Onions – I made my soup with your average everyday yellow onions, but if you want a tad more sweetness you can choose a sweet onion instead.

Brandy or Sherry – A couple tablespoons of brandy or sherry added to your French Onion Soup at the end can brighten the flavors.

Garlic – I didn’t want to muddy the sweet delicate flavor of the onions, but a lot of people do prefer to also add garlic. If adding garlic, mince it up good and sauté it with the caramelized onions for a minute or two just before adding the flour.

Side view of a bowl of French Onion Soup garnished with fresh thyme
Garnished with fresh thyme for visual appeal. Dried thyme is used in the recipe.
Overhead view of one bowl of french onion soup with a spoon and fresh thyme on the side

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup requires time and patience, but the incredible soul-warming flavor and low cost make it a meal that is worth the wait!
Total Cost $5.34 recipe / $1.07 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 5 1.5 cups ech
Calories 621.84kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 3 lbs. yellow onions $1.19
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.28
  • 3 Tbsp flour $0.03
  • 6 cups beef broth* $0.78
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1 bay leaf $0.15
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
  • 5 slices French bread $1.00
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss or Gruyere $1.00

Instructions

  • Slice the onions into ¼-inch thick slices. Add the sliced onions to a large soup pot with olive oil. Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the onions begin to get a little bit of golden brown color (after about 30-45 minutes), add the butter.
  • Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are deeply caramelized (the color of an old penny). This should take about an hour total. If needed, add a couple tablespoons of water to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom to prevent them from burning while the onions continue to cook.
  • Once the onions are deep brown and jammy in texture, add the flour. Stir and cook the flour with the caramelized onions for about two minutes more. The flour helps thicken the broth slightly, giving it body.
  • Add the beef broth to the pot and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Also add the thyme, bay leaf, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the soup up to a simmer, then allow it to simmer for about a half hour. If using a low sodium broth, make sure to taste the soup after simmering and add salt to taste.
  • Toward the end of the simmer time, preheat the oven's broiler. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and place them in the oven on the middle rack. Broil for a few minutes on each side, or just until they are barely golden brown (they will broil more later).
  • If you do not have oven safe bowls, top each slice of bread with shredded cheese, then return them to the oven and continue to broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Broiling time will vary with each oven, so make sure to watch them closely. This should only take a few minutes. Place one piece of toasted bread with melted cheese on top of each bowl of soup just before serving.
  • If you do have oven safe bowls, portion your soup into the bowls, top each one with a piece of lightly toasted bread, then some of the shredded cheese. Place the bowls back on the baking sheet and place everything back in the oven under the broiler. Broil for just a few minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot!

Notes

*I used Better Than Bouillon to make my beef broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 621.84kcal | Carbohydrates: 91.04g | Protein: 22.28g | Fat: 19.62g | Sodium: 2670.74mg | Fiber: 7.44g

Love cozy soups? Check out all of our Budget-Friendly Soup Recipes!

A pot of French Onion Soup with a ladle full held close to the camera

How to Make French Onion Soup – Step by Step Photos

Sliced onions in a soup pot

Begin by slicing 3 lbs. yellow onions into ¼-inch thick slices. Add the sliced onions to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Add butter to golden onions in the soup pot

When the onions begin to get a little golden color (after about 30-45 minutes) add 2 Tbsp butter. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Pot being deglazed with water

The goal is to keep cooking until the onions become deep brown in color and have a jammy texture. If the bottom of the pot begins to brown faster than the onions, just add a couple tablespoons of water to dissolve the browned bits off the bottom and continue to cook. Do not stop when the onions are the color in the photo above. There is still a ways to go!

Caramelized onions in the pot, flour being added

When the onions are the color of an old penny (see photo above), add 3 Tbsp flour and continue to cook and stir for about two minutes. The flour helps thicken the soup very slightly, just giving it a little extra body.

Beef broth being added to the pot

Finally, add six cups of beef broth to the pot. Stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom.

Herbs added to the soup

Also add ½ tsp dried thyme, one bay leaf, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Bring the soup up to a simmer and let it continue to simmer for about 30 minutes. If you’re using a lower sodium broth, you’ll want to taste the soup and add salt to taste after it simmers.

Toasted bread on a baking sheet

Toward the end of the simmer time, begin to prepare the cheese toast. Preheat the oven’s broiler. Place slices of French bread on a baking sheet (I only had four soup bowls, so I’m only toasting four pieces right now, but the soup makes about 5 servings). Broil the bread for a few minutes on each side or just until it’s lightly golden brown. It will broil more later with the cheese.

Soup being portioned into oven safe bowls

If you have oven safe bowls, portion the soup into the bowls. If you do not have oven safe bowls, pile the shredded cheese right onto the toasted bread on the baking sheet, then broil for a few minutes more to melt the cheese. Top each bowl of soup with a cheesy bread slice.

Toasted bread and cheese added to the soup bowls

If you do have oven safe bowls, place the bowls on the baking sheet and add a piece of toasted bread to each bowl, then top with shredded cheese.

Boiled bowls of french onion soup with bread and cheese

Return the baking sheet with the bowls of soup to the oven and broil for a few minutes more, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasty. Every broiler is a little different, and they cook quickly, so keep an eye on them!

Overhead view of one bowl of french onion soup with a spoon and fresh thyme on the side

Dig in!

The post French Onion Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Tomato Herb Soup

I’m constantly looking for new ways to use my favorite (not) Sun Dried Tomato Sauce in recipes because it’s just SO good. So, the other day I was thinking, “Hmmm, I wonder if I can just make it into a really tasty soup.” The answer is yes. Yes, that deliciously tangy, herb-infused sauce is the […]

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I’m constantly looking for new ways to use my favorite (not) Sun Dried Tomato Sauce in recipes because it’s just SO good. So, the other day I was thinking, “Hmmm, I wonder if I can just make it into a really tasty soup.” The answer is yes. Yes, that deliciously tangy, herb-infused sauce is the great beginning to a super fast, easy, and delicious homemade Tomato Herb Soup.

Originally published 9-16-2013, updated 10-12-2020.

A mug of tomato herb soup on a plate with a grilled cheese

What Does Tomato Herb Soup Taste Like?

This tomato herb soup is not your everyday canned condensed tomato soup. It’s not sugary sweet, it’s fairly thick, very rich, and has tons of herby flavor. The magic comes from the melange of dried herbs and the quick act of caramelizing the tomato paste to create a rich sweetness. So yum and it gets better as it refrigerates. Oh, did I mention that it just happens to be VEGAN?

What to Serve with Tomato Herb Soup

A classic grilled cheese sandwich is never a bad idea, but you could also do something like Homemade Garlic Bread, or drop a few Homemade Croutons on top, and make a super simple salad to go on the side.

Is it Freezer Friendly?

Yes, this soup holds up really well to freezing, so feel free to stash a couple servings in there for later! I try to use up my frozen foods within three months for best quality, but you may get a longer life out of it. In the refrigerator, the soup should stay good for about 4-5 days.

Overhead view of a mug full of tomato soup with a black spoon in the center
 
Tomato herb soup in a mug on a plate with grilled cheese

Tomato Herb Soup

Use basic pantry staples to create this quick and easy Tomato Herb Soup. It's thick, rich, flavorful, and perfect for grilled cheese dipping!
Total Cost $2.62 recipe / $0.52 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 5 1.5 cups each
Calories 168.16kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.64
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary $0.03
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste $0.39
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes $0.79
  • 3 cups vegetable broth $0.39

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and add it to a sauce pot along with the olive oil, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and freshly cracked pepper. Turn the heat on to medium-low and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic has softened.
  • Add the tomato paste and brown sugar. Stir until everything is mixed (the oil may stay partially separated). Cook the mixture while stirring continuously for 3-5 minutes, or until the tomato paste takes on a darker, almost burgundy hue.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. Whisk the mixture together until smooth. Turn the heat up to medium and heat through, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5Cups | Calories: 168.16kcal | Carbohydrates: 17.6g | Protein: 2.86g | Fat: 11.44g | Sodium: 731.8mg | Fiber: 4.68g

How to Make Tomato Herb Soup – Step by Step Photos

Oil garlic and herbs in a soup pot

Start by adding ¼ cup olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried rosemary, 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes, and some freshly cracked black pepper to a sauce pot. Turn the heat on to medium-low and sauté the herbs in the oil for about two minutes, or until the garlic has softened.

Tomato paste and brown sugar added to the pot

Add 6 oz. tomato paste and 1 Tbsp brown sugar to the pot. Stir until everything is pretty well combined (the oil may never fully mix in). Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes more, or until the tomato paste takes on a darker burgundy hue (see photo below).

crushed tomatoes being poured into the pot

Add one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes. Crushed tomatoes are smaller bits than diced tomatoes, but not quite as smooth as tomato sauce. It’s somewhere in between, and doesn’t have any seasoning added.

Vegetable broth being poured into the pot

Also add 3 cups of vegetable broth, which will thin the soup out, add depth of flavor, and just the right amount of salt. I use this Better Than Bouillon to quickly mix up the exact amount of broth that I need.

finished tomato herb soup being lifted with a ladle

Then just whisk everything together and heat through! The end! The flavors are even better the next day.

Tomato herb soup in a mug on a plate with grilled cheese

OMG – grilled cheese + tomato soup FTW!

Now give yourself a high-five for making such a delicious soup in under 30 minutes.

The post Tomato Herb Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

If ever there was a meal-worthy soup, it would be Broccoli Cheddar! This bowl full of colorful, chunky vegetables and a super thick cheesy “broth” are sure to leave you warm, happy, and satisfied. Unlike some broccoli cheddar soups, my Broccoli Cheddar Soup doesn’t use heavy cream and is ever so slightly lighter on the […]

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If ever there was a meal-worthy soup, it would be Broccoli Cheddar! This bowl full of colorful, chunky vegetables and a super thick cheesy “broth” are sure to leave you warm, happy, and satisfied. Unlike some broccoli cheddar soups, my Broccoli Cheddar Soup doesn’t use heavy cream and is ever so slightly lighter on the cheese, so you still get all that creamy, cheesy goodness without feeling totally weighed down. But, you can always add more cheese if you’d like. #norules This soup is so dang easy I’m sure it’s going to go into my regular rotation!

Three bowls of Broccoli Cheddar Soup with saltine crackers on the side

Smaller Batch for No Leftovers

Most of my soup recipes are big batch so you can freeze the leftovers and stock your freezer with all that goodness, but this Broccoli Cheddar Soup is the exception. Cheese sauces (and in this case broths) thickened with butter and flour roux don’t tend to hold up to freezing and thawing, so I made this a small batch soup so you don’t have to worry about having too many leftovers. This recipe makes four generous servings.

How Long Does Broccoli Cheddar Soup Keep?

As mentioned above, you don’t want to freeze this soup, but it will stay good in your fridge for 4-5 days. And boy are the leftovers ever DELICIOUS. They reheat beautifully in the microwave, or can be reheated on the stove top over medium-low heat, stirring often.

What to Serve with Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This super thick, cheesy “broth” is just begging for some crackers or thick crusty bread for scooping up every last drop. I love saltine crackers with mine, but oyster crackers would be awesome, as would my focaccia rolls

Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?

Yes, frozen broccoli works quite well for this recipe. I do suggest letting them thaw completely before adding them to the soup, and you probably will still want to chop them into much smaller pieces (think bite-sized, fits-on-a-spoon small).

Make it Vegetarian

I used chicken broth as the base for my soup because it tends to be a little more on the mild side and the light color doesn’t overshadow the orange color of the cheese, but you can use vegetable broth instead to make this soup vegetarian. Just be aware that it tends to have a stronger flavor and the darker color may darken your soup. 

CLose up of a ladle full of broccoli cheddar soup

 
Overhead view of a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup with saltine crackers

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This super easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup is chock full of colorful, chunky vegetables in a rich and cheesy broth for a totally meal-worthy soup.
Total Cost $4.97 recipe / $1.24 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 2 cups each
Calories 426.2kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.52
  • 1 lb. broccoli $1.49
  • 2 carrots $0.23
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.52
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.04
  • 2 cups chicken broth $0.24
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.75
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 6 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded $1.27

Instructions

  • Dice the onion. Chop the broccoli into very small pieces. Peel and slice the carrots.
  • Add the butter and onion to a large soup pot and sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the flour and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes more, or until the flour is coating the bottom of the pot and is a light golden brown color.
  • Add the chicken broth and whisk to dissolve all the flour off the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat up to medium-high and, while stirring often, allow the broth to come up to a simmer. When it reaches a simmer it will thicken to a gravy consistency.
  • Turn the heat back down to medium and whisk in the milk, smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Allow the broth to come back up to a simmer.
  • Add the chopped broccoli and carrots, allow the broth to come back up to a simmer, and continue to simmer the vegetables, stirring often, for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
  • Finally, turn the heat down to medium-low and stir the shredded cheese into the soup, one handful at a time, until it is fully melted. Taste the soup and add salt if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth—I did not add any).

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 426.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.43g | Protein: 16.65g | Fat: 30g | Sodium: 949.73mg | Fiber: 2.55g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Overhead view of a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup with saltine crackers

How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup – Step by Step Photos

Chopped broccoli

Dice one yellow onion, finely chop one pound of broccoli, and peel and slice two carrots. I’m showing a photo of the broccoli so you can see how fine you want the pieces. I might even go a smidge smaller on the broccoli next time. You want the pieces small enough to easily fit on a spoon!

Sautéed onion and butter, flour being added to the pot

Add the onion and 4 Tbsp butter to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes more, or until the flour is coating the bottom of the pot and has turned a light golden brown color.

Chicken broth being whisked into the pot

Whisk 2 cups chicken broth into the pot, making sure to dissolve all the flour off the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat up to medium-high and while stirring often, allow the broth to come up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken into a gravy consistency.

Whisk in milk and spices

Turn the heat back down to medium. Whisk 2 cups milk, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp black pepper, and ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper into the thickened broth. Allow the broth to come back up to a simmer.

Chopped vegetables added to the pot

Add the chopped broccoli and sliced carrots to the pot. Allow it to come back up to a simmer, then continue to simmer the vegetables, stirring often, for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

Simmered vegetables in the soup

You can test a piece of carrot or broccoli to make sure it’s to your desired tenderness. If not, simmer a bit longer. The soup doesn’t even have any cheese in it yet, but it already looks so good!

Shredded Cheese added to the soup

Finally, add 6 oz. of shredded sharp cheddar, one handful at a time, until it is fully melted into the soup. I stopped at 6oz. (¾ of an 8oz. block), but you could always add the remaining 2oz. if you prefer.

Finished broccoli cheddar soup being stirred

And that’s a wrap! Taste your soup and see if you want to add any additional salt. This will mostly depend on the salt content of your chicken broth. I did not add any, but if your soup is tasting a little bland, a little salt can go a long way toward making the flavors pop!

Side view of broccoli cheddar soup in the pot with the ladle

Soooo thick and cheesy!! 😍

Three bowls of broccoli cheddar soup with saltines on the side

The post Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Turkey Meatball Tortellini Soup with Spinach

This turkey meatball tortellini soup with spinach is an easy, kid-friendly soup and a great way to warm up on a cold winter night. One large bowl is under 300 calories and is very satisfying. Turkey Meatball Spinach Tortellini Soup I love turkey meatballs in my soup. Spaghetti and meatball soup is a regular in […]

The post Turkey Meatball Tortellini Soup with Spinach appeared first on Skinnytaste.

This turkey meatball tortellini soup with spinach is an easy, kid-friendly soup and a great way to warm up on a cold winter night. One large bowl is under 300 calories and is very satisfying.

This turkey meatball spinach tortellini soup is an easy, kid-friendly soup and a great way to warm up on a cold winter night. One large bowl is under 300 calories and is very satisfying.

Turkey Meatball Spinach Tortellini Soup

I love turkey meatballs in my soup. Spaghetti and meatball soup is a regular in my home because my kids love it! I also love making tortellini soup – Spinach Tortellini en Brodo is a winter favorite of mine. This recipe combines the best of both soups and my family loved it. I hope yours does too!

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The post Turkey Meatball Tortellini Soup with Spinach appeared first on Skinnytaste.

Gochujang Ramen with Tofu

I love good quality food, but I also have a small place in my heart reserved for convenience foods like instant ramen or frozen pizzas. I don’t indulge in them often, and when I do I often spruce them up with something special to make them a little more interesting. I’ve posted before about the […]

The post Gochujang Ramen with Tofu appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I love good quality food, but I also have a small place in my heart reserved for convenience foods like instant ramen or frozen pizzas. I don’t indulge in them often, and when I do I often spruce them up with something special to make them a little more interesting. I’ve posted before about the things I like to add to my instant ramen to give it an upgrade, and now I have a new favorite ingredient—gochujang! This sweet-salty-spicy paste creates a rich broth with plenty of umami that I balanced with some fresh spinach and chunks of mild tofu. This Gochujang Ramen with Tofu is a quick and easy way to indulge that noodle craving!

Two bowls of gochujang ramen with tofu, a bowl of gochujang on the side

What is Gochujang?

If you’ve never heard of gochujang, it’s a Korean chile paste made with chile peppers, rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It kind of reminds me of a spicy version of miso. Gochujang is really starting to trend in the U.S. because of its uniquely sweet-salty-spicy and UMAMI flavor. And because we’re all kind of over our infatuation with sriracha and looking for the next best thing. It’s those fermented soy beans that really set gochujang apart and give whatever you’re adding it to that extra “WOW” factor. So if you haven’t tried it yet, put it on your list!

Where to Buy Gochujang

Because gochujang is really becoming quite popular, you’ll probably be able to find some at most major grocery stores. My local kroger actually carries about 4-5 different kinds! I’m using this Sempio Gochujang. If you have an Asian grocery store near you, you’re sure to find a really good selection there, and probably much better prices. Want to try to make your own? Try this traditional gochujang recipe, or this quickie 5-minute gochujang.

To Use the Ramen Packet or Not to Use the Ramen Packet

Personally, I like to use my own broth when making ramen instead of using the little seasoning packet that comes with the noodles. I like the freedom of tweaking the flavors and salt content, but you can use the seasoning packet if you prefer. Gochujang has quite a bit of salt, so if you do want to use the flavor packet that comes with the instant ramen I suggest adding the gochujang to the water first (3 cups water), then adding a little of the flavor packet at a time until the broth reaches a reasonable salt level for you.

How Spicy is It?

Decently spicy, IMHO. You can reduce the amount of gochujang to make it slightly less spicy, if you prefer. Or, if you’re looking for non-spicy ways to spruce up your ramen, check out my post about 6 Ways to Upgrade Ramen, or my Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen.

What Should I Do With my Leftover Tofu?

This recipe uses half of a traditional 14oz. block of tofu. My first choice for using up the other half of the block would be to make a half batch of my Curried Tofu Salad. That stuff is to die for. You could also toss it into a stir fry, or chop it up, add some BBQ sauce and make yourself a BBQ Tofu Slider.

Gochujang ramen with tofu in the sauce pot on a yellow background with a black and white zig-zag napkin.

 
One bowl of gochujang ramen with tofu, chopsticks on the side

Gochujang Ramen with Tofu

Spicy gochujang gives this instant ramen extra oomph! Gochujang Ramen with Tofu is a quick and easy way to satisfy that noodle craving.
Total Cost $2.26 recipe / $1.13 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 322.15kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 7 oz. extra firm tofu $0.90
  • 1 cup water $0.00
  • 2 cups vegetable broth* $0.26
  • 2 Tbsp gochujang $0.46
  • 1 package instant ramen* $0.19
  • 2 cups fresh spinach $0.25
  • 2 green onions $0.20

Instructions

  • Drain the tofu and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Add the water, vegetable broth, and gochujang to a small sauce pot. Whisk until the gochujang is dissolved.
  • Add the cubed tofu to the pot, place a lid on top, and bring it up to a boil over high heat.
  • Once boiling, add the instant ramen noodles (without seasoning). Boil for one to two minutes, or just until the noodles begin to soften and pull loose from each other.
  • Add two handfuls (about 2 cups) fresh spinach and stir it into the hot broth until wilted. The noodles will finish cooking as the spinach wilts.
  • Slice the green onions and sprinkle over top of the ramen just before serving.

Notes

*If using vegetable broth, discard the seasoning packet that comes with the ramen noodles. If using the seasoning packet, use 3 cups of water instead of 1 cup water and 2 cups vegetable broth. Add the gochujang to the water first, then add a small amount of the seasoning packet at a time until you reach the desired level of saltiness for the broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 322.15kcal | Carbohydrates: 37.55g | Protein: 15.9g | Fat: 12.6g | Sodium: 1347.35mg | Fiber: 3.1g

side view of a bowl of gochujang ramen with chopsticks picking up a piece of tofu

How to Make Gochujang Ramen with Tofu – Step by Step Photos

cubed tofu on a cutting board

Drain a 14oz. block of tofu and cut half of it into ½-inch cubes. See the notes above the recipe for ideas for using the remaining tofu.

Gochujang broth in a small sauce pot with a whisk, tub of gochujang on the side

Add 1 cup water, 2 cups vegetable broth, and 2 Tbsp gochujang to a small sauce pot. Whisk until the gochujang has dissolved.

Cubed tofu being dropped into the pot

Add the cubed tofu to the pot. Adding the tofu before we start boiling the broth gives it a few minutes to start absorbing some of the flavor from the broth, as opposed to adding it at the end. Place a lid on the pot and bring the broth up to a boil over high heat.

Ramen noodles added to the pot, empty package on the side

Once boiling, add the block of instant ramen noodles (without seasoning packet). Let the noodles boil for about a minute, or just until they being to soften up and loosen up from the block.

Spinach added to the pot

Add a couple handfuls of spinach to the pot and stir it in until wilted. This should give the noodles just enough time to finish cooking as well.

Finished gochujang ramen in the pot

Slice two green onions and sprinkle them over the ramen just before serving.

One bowl of gochujang ramen with tofu, chopsticks on the side

Enjoy that spicy goodness!!

The post Gochujang Ramen with Tofu appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Chunky Ham and Bean Soup

Soup season is already on its way out, but I couldn’t resist one more warm and cozy pot of goodness. For this super easy and deliciously chunky Ham and Bean Soup I took cue from my easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup and used a puréed can of beans to thicken the pot, combined that […]

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Soup season is already on its way out, but I couldn’t resist one more warm and cozy pot of goodness. For this super easy and deliciously chunky Ham and Bean Soup I took cue from my easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup and used a puréed can of beans to thicken the pot, combined that with some chunky and colorful vegetables and a handful of diced ham to round out this meal in a bowl. This is also a great use for your leftover holiday ham, so bookmark this recipe for Easter next month!

Thick & Chunky Ham and Bean Soup

Two bowls of chunky ham and bean soup with torn chunks of bread on the side

What Kind of Beans Should I Use?

I used cannellini beans for this soup because I love their large shape and creamy texture. You can also use a different type of white beans, like navy beans or great northern beans. 

Can I Use Dry Beans?

This recipe is written specifically for canned beans. Using dry beans would require different methods and different amounts of liquids and seasoning, so I would need to develop and test a recipe specifically for dry beans before providing instructions.

What Kind of Ham Can I Use?

You can use virtually any cooked ham. The ham I used is an uncured, fully cooked, thick sliced ham. If using pre-sliced ham, a thicker slice works a little better than thin sandwich slices, which won’t give much texture to the soup. If you have leftover cooked ham from Easter or any other holiday, that can also be used in this recipe.

Can I Freeze Ham and Bean Soup?

Yes, this soup is a great candidate for freezing! Simply chill the soup completely in the refrigerator overnight before transferring to the freezer for long term storage (about 3 months). I prefer to divide my soup into single servings before freezing, so they can be reheated as needed and in the amount needed. Quart-sized freezer bags are great for freezing soup, as are the small blue-top Ziploc food storage containers.

Close up front view of a bowl full of chunky ham and bean soup with a spoon lifting some and a chunk of bread in the side of the bowl.

 
Two bowls of chunky ham and bean soup with chunks of bread on the side
Print

Chunky Ham and Bean Soup

This incredibly easy and deliciously chunky Ham and Bean Soup features a medley of colorful vegetables, browned ham, and plenty of hearty white beans.
Total Cost $6.70 recipe / $1.68 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 553.83kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 3 carrots $0.30
  • 3 ribs celery $0.35
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 lb. cooked ham $3.75
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 3 15oz. cans cannellini beans $1.47
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme $0.02
  • freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or more as needed) $0.26

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, peel and slice the carrots, slice the celery, and mince the garlic.
  • Dice the ham into bite-sized chunks. Add the ham and cooking oil to a large soup pot. Sauté the ham for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, or until it achieves a decent amount of browning. Remove the browned ham to a clean bowl.
  • Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot in place of the ham. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes over medium heat, or until the onions have softened. Allow the moisture released from the vegetables to help dissolve the browned bits of ham from the bottom of the soup pot as you stir.
  • While the vegetables are sautéing, add one of the three cans of beans to a blender, with the liquid from the can, and purée until smooth. Drain the remaining two cans of beans.
  • Add all three cans of beans (one puréed and two drained) to the soup pot with the vegetables. Also add 1/4 tsp dried thyme, some freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill), and 2 cups chicken broth. Stir to combine, then turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the soup to come to a boil.
  • Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium and allow the soup to continue to boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the soup boils it will reduce and thicken. If the soup becomes too thick, add more vegetable broth or water to achieve your desired soup consistency.
  • After the soup has boiled for 15 minutes and has thickened, stir the cooked ham back into the soup. Give the soup a taste and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking. I did not add any additional salt, but I did top each bowl with a little fresh pepper. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 553.83kcal | Carbohydrates: 75.33g | Protein: 41.75g | Fat: 9.98g | Sodium: 2143.8mg | Fiber: 18.23g

Close up of a ladle full of chunky ham and bean soup being held over the soup pot

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board

Before you begin, dice one yellow onion, peel and slice three carrots, slice three ribs of celery, and mince two cloves of garlic.

Uncured ham pacakge

This is the type of ham I used. You can use any cooked ham, but a thicker slice works better than thin sandwich slices. You can also use cooked holiday ham. You’ll need one pound of cooked ham.

Browned ham in the soup pot

Dice one pound of ham and add it to a soup pot with one tablespoon cooking oil. Cook the ham over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the ham is browned on the edges. Remove the ham to a clean bowl.

Diced vegetables cooked in soup pot.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pot in place of the ham and continue to cook over medium for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are softened. Use the moisture released from the vegetables to dissolve the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.

Whole and pureed beans added to soup pot

While the vegetables are cooking, add one of the three cans of cannellini beans to a blender (with the liquid from the can) and purée until smooth. Drain the other two cans. Add the puréed beans and drained beans to the soup pot.

thyme pepper and chicken broth added to the soup pot

Also add 1/4 tsp dried thyme, some freshly cracked pepper, and 2 cups of chicken broth to the pot. Stir to combine. The soup will be fairly watery at this point.

Boiled ham and bean soup

Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the soup up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down slightly to medium and let the soup boil for 15 minutes, stirring often. The soup will reduce and thicken as it boils. If it becomes too thick for your liking, simply add a little more water or chicken broth to reach your desired consistency.

Cooked ham being poured back into the soup pot

After boiling the soup for 15 minutes, stir the cooked ham back into the pot. Give the soup a taste and adjust the salt or pepper, if needed.

Finished chunky ham and bean soup in the soup pot with bread on the side

Serve the chunky Ham and Bean Soup hot, preferably with crusty bread for dipping!

Two bowls of chunky ham and bean soup with chunks of bread on the side

The post Chunky Ham and Bean Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. Not only is it incredibly easy, but even just the smell of it simmering away is soothing and totally gives me hygge vibes. While I’ve had a stove top version of this Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup for years, I thought […]

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Homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. Not only is it incredibly easy, but even just the smell of it simmering away is soothing and totally gives me hygge vibes. While I’ve had a stove top version of this Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup for years, I thought it was high time to show just how easy and hands-off it is to make with a slow cooker (or crock pot). This is the perfect winter Sunday recipe to have going while you tend to other chores or just catch up on Netflix. :)

Homemade Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Overhead view of a slow cooker containing freshly cooked homemade chicken noodle soup

What Size Slow Cooker Do I Need?

I would suggest using a 6 quart slow cooker. I used a 5 quart slow cooker and it was filled dangerously close to the top, so 6 quart would be a much better fit. If you have a smaller slow cooker you can cut the recipe in half by changing the number of servings in the box next to servings in the recipe card below. This will adjust the amounts of all the ingredients for you. It will still need to cook for the same amount of time.

What Are “Split” Chicken Breasts?

Split chicken breasts are one whole chicken breast that has been split down the breast bone into two pieces (right and left breast) with the bones, rib meat, and skin still attached. Also known as bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Using this type of chicken breast is key to getting the best flavor in your chicken soup. The bones, connective tissues, and dark rib meat are where all the flavor’s at. Bone-in chicken thighs are also a great option.

Can I Use Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast?

Technically you can, but your soup will have a lot less flavor. You may find that you need to use pre-made chicken broth in place of the water listed in the recipe below to get more flavor in your soup.

Overhead view of a bowl full of slow cooker chicken noodle soup

Can I Use Frozen Chicken?

It’s not recommended to add frozen meat to slow cookers. It takes too much time for the meat to thaw and come up to a safe temperature, leaving it in the temperature “danger zone” where bacteria can flourish for too long. If you have frozen chicken that you’d like to use, make sure to thaw it fully using a safe method before adding it to the slow cooker.

To Use Chicken Skin or Not to Use Chicken Skin

I remove the chicken skin from the split chicken breasts before adding it to the slow cooker, but you don’t have to. There is a lot of fat and flavor in the skin, so if you want an extra rich soup you can leave it on. You’ll just remove the skin at the same time that you debone the chicken meat.

Can I Freeze Chicken Noodle Soup?

Yes! This recipe makes a huge batch, so you’ll probably want to freeze half of it. Make sure to divide the soup into single portions just after cooking (so it cools quickly), 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 reusable freezer safe food storage containers.

Overhead view of a ladle lifting chicken noodle soup out of the slow cooker

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Slow cooker chicken noodle soup is an incredibly easy and soothing winter recipe that will fill you up and warm you from the inside out!

  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($0.24)
  • 1/2 lb. carrots (about 4 medium) ($0.30)
  • 4 ribs celery ($0.43)
  • 2 split chicken breasts* (2-2.5 lbs. total) ($6.30)
  • 1 tsp dried basil ($0.10)
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley ($0.30)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
  • 1 bay leaf ($0.15)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
  • 8 cups water ($0.00)
  • 6 oz. wide egg noodles ($0.68)
  • 1 Tbsp salt (or to taste) ($0.10)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional) ($0.20)
  1. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, peel and slice the carrots, and slice the celery. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to a 6 quart slow cooker or crock pot.

  2. Remove the skin from the bone-in split chicken breasts, then place them on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker. Add the basil, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper to the slow cooker.

  3. Pour 8 cups of water over the ingredients in the slow cooker. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

  4. After cooking on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board and discard the bay leaf. Add the egg noodles to the slow cooker, stir to combine, and replace the lid, with the heat turned on to high.

  5. Use two forks to remove the chicken meat from the bones, shredding the meat as you go. Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the soup. The noodles should be tender after about 8-10 minutes of being in the soup (this may take a few minutes longer if the slow cooker was previously set to low).

  6. Once the chicken has been returned to the soup and the noodles are tender, begin seasoning the soup with salt. The true flavor of the soup will not be pronounced until it is properly salted. Start with 1 tsp salt, adding more until the soup is bold and flavorful. I use about 1 Tbsp (3 tsp). Finally, stir in a handful of chopped parsley for garnish just before serving.

*Split chicken breasts have bones, rib meat, and skin attached.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up side view of a bowl of slow cooker chicken noodle soup

How to Make Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup in a Slow Cooker – Step by Step Photos

Diced onion, carrot, celery, and minced garlic in the slow cooker

Dice one yellow onion, peel and slice 1/2 lb. carrots (about four), slice four ribs of celery, and mince 3 cloves of garlic. Add all four to a 6 quart slow cooker or crock pot.

Chicken and herbs added to the slow cooker

Remove the skin from two split chicken breasts (leave bones and rib meat attached). Place the chicken in the slow cooker along with 1 tsp dried basil, 1 Tbsp dried parsley, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, and some freshly cracked black pepper.

Chicken noodle soup ready to cook

Add eight cups of water to the slow cooker, place the lid on top, and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.

Remove cooked chicken from slow cooker

After cooking on high for four hours or low for eight hours, remove the cooked chicken to a cutting board and discard the bay leaf (it usually floats on top).

Add egg noodles to slow cooker

Add 6 oz. wide egg noodles to the slow cooker, stir to combine, and replace the lid. Let the noodles continue to cook on high heat while you shred the chicken.

Chicken meat shredded with forks, bones on the side

Use two forks to remove the chicken meat from the bones, shredding it as you go. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker. The noodles will be tender after being in the pot for about 8-10 minutes (this may take a few minutes longer if your slow cooker had previously been set to low).

Season chicken noodle soup with salt

Once the noodles are tender and the shredded chicken returned to the pot, begin seasoning the soup with salt. Start with 1 tsp and keep adding more until the soup tastes vibrant and delicious. I use about 1 Tbsp (3 tsp). Finally, add 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish just before serving.

Finished Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

As with any soup or large batch recipe, it helps to divide the soup into smaller portions before cooling in the refrigerator. This helps the food cool faster, which is a better food safety practice.

Front view of a ladle lifting some chicken noodle soup out of the slow cooker

Add some crackers on top and enjoy this totally from-scratch homemade chicken noodle soup, just like grandma used to make. :)

The post Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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 […]

The post Swamp Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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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