Many people use the month of January as the perfect time to kick-start good money-saving habits. And one of the best places to look when cutting costs is the kitchen.
Cooking at home more and planning out your meals ahead of time are two great ways to do this. And homemade soups tick both of these boxes.
Soups are a really cost-effective meal. They’re easy to throw together, and you can get multiple servings out of one pot. And if you’re not a fan of eating the same soup leftovers all week, you can easily freeze them to have for a quick meal at a later date.
To help get you started, I’ve created five different soup recipes for under $5 per serving. While I calculated these prices from shopping at my local grocery store, your exact totals may vary slightly.
These recipes include pantry staples you likely already have, from olive oil and salt to spices. Meanwhile, most of the main ingredients — ones you may not already have — provide more than one serving and are also under $5, per item.
So, if your bank account took a hit during the holidays or if you’d like to focus on spending less money on meals in 2019, check out these five soup recipes below!
This soup is quick to make. It’s light but still packed with delicious flavors. You also have a lot of versatility when it comes to which protein to add. Everything from tofu to chicken will work.
Serving size: 4–6
Price per serving: $2.54
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 cup dried wakame seaweed
- 1/4 cup miso
- 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
- 1 15-oz. package organic tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
- Combine wakame with warm water (enough to cover it by 1 inch). Let sit for 15 minutes, or until soft. Drain water.
- Pour 1/2 cup boiled water in a mixing bowl. Add miso and bouillon cubes. Stir to make sure the miso is combined and dissolved before adding to a pot.
- Add all remaining soup ingredients and water to a pot, bring to medium heat for 1 minute.
- Serve hot.
Black Bean Soup
This hearty, vegan-friendly soup is rich in fiber, plant-based protein, and makes great leftovers for the whole family to enjoy.
Serving size: 4–6
Price per serving: $2.35
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 15-oz. cans of black beans, drained
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 16-oz. container of salsa
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- avocado, cilantro, or hot sauce (optional)
- In a large pot, cook diced onion in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cook for 5 minutes.
- Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- You can enjoy this soup as is here, but it’s recommended to transfer into a blender, or use an immersion blender to create a pureed soup.
- Serve warm. Add the optional ingredients if you wish.
Creamy Tomato Soup
This is a delicious, creamy tomato soup made with pantry staples and canned tomatoes.
Serving size: 4-6
Price per serving: $4.89
- 2 15-oz. cans of diced tomatoes
- 1 15-oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk (animal- or plant-based)
- 1 small sweet onion (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 tbsp. miso paste
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 dates, pitted and chopped
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- dash of cayenne
- Combine all ingredients into a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth.
- Pour into a large pot. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes, or until soup has thickened to a desired consistency.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
If you’re looking for a soup that’s chock-full of delicious veggies and packs a flavorful punch, you’ll want to give this recipe a try.
Serving size: 6
Price per serving: $2.80
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- pinch of sea salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 4 cups vegetable or organic chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt, adjust to taste
- 1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper, adjust to taste
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- sprigs of parsley or dill, fresh black pepper, or ghee (optional)
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering.
- Add diced onion and a large pinch of kosher salt. Cook until translucent for about 8 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds.
- Add sliced cabbage, celery, and all remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover for 40 minutes on low heat, or until the cabbage is tender.
- Serve in a bowl with fresh parsley, dill, fresh black pepper, ghee, or a drizzle of olive oil.
This hearty vegetable soup is made with a mix of fresh and frozen vegetables and pantry staples. As an option, serve over a bed of cooked quinoa or millet, or with a side of avocado on toast.
Serving size: 6–8
Price per serving: $4.42
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 1 head cabbage, shredded
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. miso paste
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp. ground cayenne
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 large carrots, diagonally sliced
- 1 zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 32-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 4 oz. of tomato paste
- 1 cup cooked black-eyed peas
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1/2 cup green peas
- enough water or low-sodium vegetable stock to cover ingredients
- 1 handful of fresh cilantro or thyme for garnish
- a few sprigs of mint, thyme, or parsley (optional)
- In a medium-large pot, heat coconut oil and add diced onion, garlic, shredded cabbage, and sliced fennel. Stir and cook until soft.
- Add rest of ingredients and enough water or stock to cover. Adjust seasonings to your taste.
- Simmer and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until all vegetables are tender.
- Enjoy in a bowl with fresh herbs like mint, thyme, or parsley on top.
McKel Hill, MS, RD, is the founder of Nutrition Stripped, a healthy living website dedicated to optimizing the well-being of women all over the globe through recipes, nutrition advice, fitness, and more. Her cookbook, “Nutrition Stripped,” was a national best-seller, and she’s been featured in Fitness Magazine and Women’s Health Magazine.