How To

Soup: A Frugal Foodie’s Delight

When the temperature drops, few meals hit the spot as well as my favorite winter staple does: Soup.

Soup is a foodie’s delight: It can be both inexpensive to prepare, yet still gourmet and healthy. It can also be a great way to cut back on food waste in the kitchen, which does wonders for your grocery bill. During the summer, Frugal Foodie makes gazpacho in big batches and freezes it to take advantage of everything her garden grows. In winter, she makes a weekly pot of it that varies, based on the odds and ends in the fridge. (Last week’s soup consisted of blended lentils, carrots and bacon in homemade beef broth — YUM!)

What’s your go-to winter soup? We asked bloggers and chefs for their favorites. Here are seven to try:

Slow Cooker Asian Cabbage Corn Soup

“It’s not pretty,” concedes “The Vegan Slow Cooker” author Kathy Hester, but this mix of cabbage, corn and other winter veggies is both flavorful and hearty. “Even ‘cabbage haters’ have been known to like it,” she says.

Chicken, Kale and Brown Rice Soup

Shredded chicken stars in this healthy recipe from Elizabeth Blessing, co-owner and chief nutritionist for Midwest grocery service, Green B.E.A.N Delivery. It would be ideal for a stint in the slow cooker, too.

White Bean and Broccoli Soup

Elegant Affairs Caterers president, Andrea Correale, suggests this veggie soup for New Year’s resolution-makers trying to lose weight. To make, heat two to three tablespoons olive oil in a large pot on medium heat, then add three pounds of coarsely chopped onions. Stir to coat with oil, cover, and cook until onions are soft and starting to brown, stirring frequently, about 10 to 12 minutes. Make a space in the center of the pot and add six cloves of chopped garlic. Cook and stir for two minutes. Add a pound and a half of chopped broccoli, a can of drained and rinsed garbanzo beans, and four to five cups of chicken stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then simmer with the lid barely cracked until broccoli is tender, about 25 minutes. Purée with an immersion blender and cook a few more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Homemade Tomato Soup

“Making your own tomato soup is easy, inexpensive and much healthier for 
you than buying the canned stuff,” says Pamela Braun, of mymansbelly.com. “Plus, roasting 
your own tomatoes to make the soup really enhances the tomato flavor.” She has created a tasty low-sodium version.

Ginger Soy Udon Noodle Soup

Maureen Smithe of homemademothering.com, describes this soup  as her “go-to” whenever she’s not sure what else to make. Bagged broccoli slaw from the supermarket veggie section cuts kitchen prep time.

Potato Turnip Soup with Collard Pesto

Hester tops this hearty winter soup of turnips and potatoes with a unique pesto containing ingredients such as, collard greens and blood orange olive oil.

Carrot and Walnut Soup with Tarragon

“For recipes that are both low on calories and cash you can’t beat vegetarian soups,” says Katerina Wright of “Daily Unadventures in Cooking.” She adds, “I love combining either a nut or a legume with a vegetable.” Her addition of walnuts to a carrot soup base makes for a heartier result.

Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie http://www.twitter.com/mintfoodie.