Recipe Idea: Veggie Soup

Having the most frugal grocery budget in the world isn’t going to help you and if you can’t put together at least a few healthy, tasty, and cheap eats! Every month, The Outlier Model features a cheap recipe idea, along with the cost breakdown.


Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vegetable_beef_barley_soup.jpg


Vegetable soup is a great meal that makes use of whatever veggies you have in the fridge.  This recipe suggests the “typical” ingredients that you might like to use in soup but you can certainly mix it up with alternatives.  It’s also super cheap to make (you can see that I’ve generously estimated the cost of most of the ingredients)! I like to make a large batch of soup on the weekends and freeze it for easy weekday meals.


  • 3 tablespoons butter ($0.75)
  • 1 onion, diced ($0.30)
  • 2 large carrots, diced ($0.20)
  • 3 stalks celery, diced ($0.25)
  • 1 (28 ounces) can diced tomatoes ($0.89)
  • 1 teaspoon salt ( < $0.05)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (< $0.05)
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley ($0.10)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano ($0.05)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (< $0.10)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce ($0.05)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika ($0.05)
  • 2 quarts veggie/beef/chicken broth (free!)

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the onion, carrots and celery until onion is translucent. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, salt, pepper, herbs, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and paprika. Pour in your stock of choice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender and all the flavors are well blended.

Servings: 6-8

Cost per serving: Less than 40 cents a serving.

Frugal hack:  Use whatever leftover veggies you have in the fridge.  A bit of carrot, a few beans… whatever!  Vegetable soup is very forgiving.

Feeling adventurous: I like to add some starch to this soup just to bulk it up a bit.  Cooked rice or cooked macaroni works well – add these when the soup is 90% done.  You could also add a bit of protein, such as chicken or beef scraps, beans or chickpeas – these should be added when the soup is brought to a boil and allowed to simmer with the broth.

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