Five Tasty Weeknight Soups That Satisfy: Easy to Make, Easy on the Wallet

Five Tasty Weeknight Soups That Satisfy: Easy to Make, Easy on the Wallet

What’s better for making sure you enjoy nutritious, budget-friendly eating Monday through Friday than having a week’s worth of homemade soup ready to heat and eat? Add a salad and a little fruit and you’ve got wonderful hearty meals.

A few of these recipes require a little prep, like soaking the beans overnight and simmering for a few hours or using some precooked rice or pasta. Most of the recipes cook in less than an hour! And if you’ve got a freezer, double the recipes and you’ve got delicious meals prepped beyond the week. So stock up on all the ingredients over the weekend and you’ll be ready to roll.

Black Bean Chili

This vegetarian, gluten-free recipe is made with beans soaked overnight, then simmers for two hours, so you’ll want to prepare this ahead of time–perhaps on a weekend for Monday night dinner.

1 pound dry black beans
2 cups chopped onion (about 2 large)
1 cup chopped red, yellow or green bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons dried cilantro
1, 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
Fresh chopped cilantro or green onion for garnish (optional)

Soak beans overnight according to package directions. Rinse.

Add all ingredients except tomatoes to 3 quarts of water. Bring to boil, then reduce to low heat. Simmer for about 2 hours, until beans are soft and water is gone. Add tomatoes, cooking until tomatoes are heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fat-free sour cream and chopped green onions.

Serves 6
Each serving contains about 333 calories, 20 grams protein, 2 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 63 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams fiber, and 204 milligrams sodium.

Multigrain Chicken Soup

1/2 cup raw brown rice
1/3 cup medium barley
1/3 cup red lentils
1/3 cup yellow split peas
2 large ribs celery, sliced
4 large carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons dried parsley or 6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, depending on taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
12 cups water
Crackers and fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Put all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to simmer. Cook for about 1 hour, until all grains are tender. Adjust seasonings as needed. Soup will be thick. You can thin the soup, if you like, by adding water or chicken stock.

Serves 8

Each 1 and a 1/2 cup serving contains approximately 218 calories, 30 grams carbohydrates, 20 grams protein, 2 grams fat, 225 milligrams sodium, and 6 grams fiber.

Minestrone Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion (about 1/2 cup chopped)
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 clove garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic flakes or powder)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, or substitute with a combination of thyme, parsley, and bay leaves
1, 14.5-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth (about 2 cups)
1, 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added, diced tomatoes, plus 1 can of water
1, 19-ounce can no-salt-added, cannellini (white kidney) or other beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup cooked elbow macaroni

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and Italian seasoning herbs. Cook, stirring just until onions look slightly wilted.

Add chicken broth, tomatoes, water, and beans. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes or until carrots are tender. Add frozen peas and macaroni to hot soup and serve.

Serves 4
Each 1/2 cup serving contains about 250 calories, 10 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 41 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fiber, and 404 milligrams sodium.

Southwestern Tex-Mex Chicken Noodle Soup

4 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1, 15-ounce can (about 1-1/2 cups) low-sodium corn kernels, rinsed
1, 15-ounce can black beans or pinto beans or a mixture, rinsed
1, 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with chilies
4 cups cooked whole wheat noodles or chunky pasta
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 slices of lime for garnish

Put chicken broth into a large soup pot and add onion and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, then add chicken. Add, corn, beans, and tomatoes. Heat to boiling, then turn off heat.

Put 1 cup of pasta and 1/4 cup of cilantro in each serving bowl. Pour soup over noodles. Garnish with slice of lime.

Makes 4 hearty servings
Each serving contains about 521 calories, 8 grams fat (4 grams saturated fat, no trans fat), 53 milligrams cholesterol, 683 milligrams sodium, 77 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams dietary fiber, 8 grams sugars, and 38 grams protein.

Stuffed Cabbage Soup

1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 and a 1/2 cups sliced onion
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups shredded cabbage
1, 28-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, low sodium
1, 14-ounce can low-sodium beef broth
3 cups water
2 tablespoons fresh or dried parsley
3 cups cooked brown rice or other grain, such as barley or millet

Brown meat in soup pot. Drain fat if necessary. Add olive oil, then onions and garlic and sauté briefly. Add shredded cabbage and continue stirring. Add tomatoes, beef broth, and water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and let cook for about 10 minutes on simmer. Sprinkle in parsley.

To serve, put half a cup of cooked brown rice or other grain of your choice (barley, millet, quinoa) into a large bowl. Ladle stuffed cabbage soup over grain. Serve.

Makes 6 servings
Each serving contains about 232 calories, 6 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat, no trans fat), 22 milligrams cholesterol, 369 milligrams sodium, 34 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams dietary fiber, 7 grams sugars, and 12 grams protein.

These recipes and more healthy options are available on Valley’s website.
Photos are representative of actual recipes.

About The Author

Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office


    1. Valley Communications

      Thank you for reading our blog! We’ve added a printable PDF of the recipes at the bottom of the article.

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