By: Gabrielle McLaren, Editor-in-Chief
A fun fact about me is that I have a Pinboard called “SOUP SOUP SOUP SOUP.” I am not ashamed. In fact, now that sweater weather has rolled in, I am thriving.
Here’s why soup is the superior food: minimal dishes because all you need is one big pot, yields huge quantities so you can cook once a week and proceed not to starve, and there are tons of ways to make this relatively cheap. Here to prove my point are five easy recipes that won’t break the bank, with ingredient costs calculated from Walmart Canada’s website.
- 2 leeks — $3.97 for 1 bunch
- 4 sweet potatoes — Sweet pots usually sell by weight, but the website estimates $8.48
- Rosemary — $0.67 for a pack of fresh rosemary, but feel free to use powdered or dried if you’ve got it handy
- 1 L of stock — Pro-tip: instead of buying pre-made stock or broth, grab a pack of bouillon cubes to dissolve in water. One pack of Knorr’s has 8 cubes in it (you’ll need 2 cubes per cup of broth) and will cost $1.27
Recipe total: $14.39
Yield: 6 servings
Notes: This soup freezes really well! Suggested additions include garlic, onion powder, sage, and thyme.
- 1 onion — $0.93
- 4 garlic cloves (the recipe calls for 2, but you’ll want more) — $0.68 for a pack of 3 heads
- 1 L of stock — Use up those $1.27 bouillon cubes
- 1 package of refrigerated tortellini — Walmart sells two-packs for $5 and if that isn’t a game changer, I don’t know what is
- 1 can of diced tomatoes — $0.97
- 3 cups of chopped spinach — Pack of baby spinach for $3.47
- From your pantry: olive oil and pepper
Recipe total: $12.32 and you can enjoy your extra ravioli at a later date
Yield: 6 servings
Notes: If you have the extra cash or are really feeling yourself, you’ll absolutely want to get some parmesan to throw on top of this soup. Suggested additions include: italian spice mix (basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, thume, chili flakes, and garlic powder) or fresh basil. You can also cheat by getting cans of diced tomatoes that are already seasoned up.
- 3 cans of black beans (save the liquid) — $2.64
- 1 lb of salsa (I usually dump in a large can and call it a day) — $2.97
- ½ cup of cilantro — $0.97 for a bunch
- 1 head of garlic, minced (the recipe says 1 clove, but you and I know that’s wrong) — $0.68
- From your pantry: 2 tsp of cumin — If you don’t have cumin in your pantry, a pouch of 97 g goes for $1.97 and it’s a sound investment!
Recipe total: $9.23
Yield: 4 servings
Notes: The amazing thing about this recipe, other than how cheap it is and how easily it comes together, is how much wiggle room you have to adjust spice level depending on who you’re feeding. While the original recipe doesn’t call for that, I recommend blending up your soup.
- 2 yellow onions — $1.86
- 2 butternut squashes — Squash is usually calculated by pound so prices may vary, but expect to spend under $10 here
- 4 medium apples — I usually get Gala apples, which would bring you to $1.08
- 3–4 cups of stock — Thank you, $1.27 bouillon cubes
- From your pantry: Olive oil, nutmeg, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper (can be substituted for smoked paprika if you like)
Recipe total: $11.25
Yield: 8 servings
Notes: Adding cinnamon to this soup intensifies its levels of autumn-ness by 99%. I also keep red curry paste around and I’m here to confirm that it also makes an incredible addition (add to taste).
5. Egg drop soup
- 1 or 2 eggs per serving — $2.27 for a dozen of large eggs
- 2 cups of broth per serving — $1.97 bouillon cubes, saving the day
- Green onions — $0.97 a bunch
- From your pantry: Salt and pepper. You can also throw in onion powder, garlic powder, and literally anything else to liven up your broth.
Recipe total: $4.51
Yield: Recipe is per-serving
Notes: Alright, so I don’t actually have a link for this recipe because I discovered it in first year and still refer to it as my “oh fuck I didn’t do groceries” soup.
Start by making 2 cups of broth per person you’re trying to feed. Boil the broth and then, when your heart tells you to, crack the egg into your saucepan. Grab a fork and whisk the soup furiously — the egg will cook, but because you broke it up it’ll cook in long, noodle-like strands.
Garnish and enjoy!
Feel free to add any leftovers laying around your fridge — cooked veggies, chicken, potato chunks. . .