Help me find more soup recipes as easy as this one.
February 4, 2018 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I've recently fallen in love with this red lentil soup recipe. Not only because it's delicious, but because it's dead easy -- I can use pre-chopped onions from Trader Joe's, jarred garlic, lemon juice from a bottle, boxes of stock, etc. Can you find me other soup, stew, or chili recipes that require very little work but turn out a fresh, healthy product?

I'm going through a phase where I absolutely hate to cook -- long story involving a crummy rental kitchen, a demanding job, and an ongoing family emergency. I especially hate chopping vegetables or otherwise having to use a knife.

Yes, I am trying to find some long-term solutions, including a new apartment, better knives, better work-life balance, etc. But in the mean time, I need to feed myself. I prefer to make soups, stews, and chilis because I can freeze them in bulk for lunches, plus I live in Minnesota where it is VERY COLD RIGHT NOW and a hot bowl of soup is pretty much all I want to eat in February.

What I like about the recipe I linked to:

- Zero chopping of any kind.

- Very healthy ingredients. The only thing to possibly object to is the butter, and trust me, as someone with Norwegian ancestors, I am NOT afraid of butter.

- Prep work and tools needed are minimal. Thanks to the substitutions I listed above, all I need to make this is a pot with a lid, something to stir with, a can opener (for the tomato paste), and a couple of measuring spoons.

- Makes a big batch and freezes beautifully.

A few caveats:

- My slow cooker just broke and I'm not sure when I'll get a new one. If you have the world's greatest crock pot recipe, go ahead and share it, but I'd prefer stuff that can be made quickly on the stove.

- I'm not vegetarian or vegan, but I'm not a huge fan of dealing with raw meat (especially if I have to cut stuff up) or even prying cooked meat off a rotisserie chicken. I'd be willing to brown some ground beef or turkey.

- I cannot stand the taste or texture of any canned vegetables, except for canned beans or canned tomatoes. I'm open to using frozen veggies.

- I don't like mushrooms or olives. I only like greens (kale, chard, etc.) and tomatoes if they are in very small pieces -- totally a texture thing.

- I'm lactose intolerance, so while small amounts of cream/cheese are okay, something entirely cream-based would be tough for my stomach. Also, I'm allergic to corn.

Minus these caveats, I like a variety of cuisines and am open to new flavors and ingredients. Any suggestions?
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I like this black bean and pumpkin soup. Definitely use canned beans and diced tomatoes. I like to puree it with an immersion blender (also a texture thing), but the recipe says that's optional. I use Better than Bouillon rather than futzing around with canned chicken stock.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:47 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Caveat that I'm UK based, but my go-to hearty winter soup is:

Can of beans (white - cannelini, borlotti, haricot - they'll all work. If you can be bothered you can buy dried and soak them but honestly canned beans work just fine for this; just drain and rinse)
Packet of cubed bacon, about 100g ish? (not sure what the US version of this would be, but something in the region of cubetti di pancetta; you could cut up a few rashers of smoked streaky with some scissors if you prefer, although I'm trying to stick to your no-cutting rule)
Onion (about one onion's worth, pre-chopped/frozen is fine)
Garlic (jarred, about 1tsp)
Good handful of some kind of greens (you should be able to buy pre-washed shredded kale/cabbage/greens I hope?)
Can of crushed tomatoes
Stock/broth - doesn't really matter what kind, you can use dried cubes in hot water; about 750ml I guess?
If you can get some chopped carrots that's great too.

In a saucepan, fry the bacon until it's going brown and crispy. Chuck in the onion (and carrot if you have it) and cook until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and greens, lower the heat, stir well and wilt down for a minute or two. Add the drained beans, tomatoes and stock. Simmer for about half an hour, add seasoning to taste. Serve with crusty bread.

It's a very tolerant soup - beans, bacon and cabbage are a classic combination - you can skip ingredients (lose the tomatoes or sub for paste), add others (potatoes go great - any variety, waxy or not, cut into rough chunks) and it'll basically still work. And most of the ingredients are available pre-prepared.
posted by parm at 2:02 PM on February 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Homemade Bean with Bacon Soup. Not at all like the canned stuff, not even a little. Make a double batch.
posted by BoscosMom at 2:09 PM on February 4, 2018

Best answer: Well, this Chili recipe is sorta ok health wise, though you could sub ground turkey for the ground beef if you wanted to lighten it up a bit. It is certainly easy. You could deal with the diced peppers by grabbing precut stuff from the salad bar at the grocery store.

Janet's Chili
1/2 lb. ground beef (or ground meat of your choice)
1/2 lb. sausage meat (we buy some "gourmet" fat sausages and take them out of their casings)
1/2 a green bell pepper, diced
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
15 oz. can pinto beans, drained
1 cup water
1 cup frozen corn (optional, and no need to thaw) - I know you said you are allergic to corn -the corn is completely optional in this recipe, but I'm listing it because other people who read this might want to make the recipe with the corn included.
1 package chili seasoning mix (you can get premade packets of dry spice chili blends at pretty much any grocery, or just put together your own)

Brown beef and sausage meat together in big pot or Dutch oven, and drain off fat. (If the meat you are using is very lean you might need to use some olive oil when you are browning it.)
Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer 30 minutes (or more, depending how thick you like your chili).
This recipe doubles easily.
posted by gudrun at 2:19 PM on February 4, 2018

Make up a tupperware of six types of dried beans and make chili or soup. It does take a bit on the stove but it's largely unattended. We use frozen and canned ingredients except in the summer.
posted by cobaltnine at 2:37 PM on February 4, 2018

Easy canned pozole! I normally chop most of my veg but it’s also great using canned.

Canned diced green chilis (mild to hot, to taste)
Canned hominy
Canned beans
Canned diced tomatoes- or get crushed, petite diced, use V8 or tomato juice, or just omit.
Minced garlic from a jar
Onion powder or pre-chopped onions.
A bullion cube or paste, I like chicken/tomato cubes.
Plenty of chili power, ideally ancho.

It’s normally made with pork, I use chorizo usually but it’s also fine vegetarian, use more beans or add TVP in that case.
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:44 PM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Since you mention Trader Joe's, here are two soups I make that meet your criteria:


2 cans of TJ black beans drained
1 container of TJ black bean and roasted corn salsa (It's in the fresh food case next to hummus and other fresh salsas)
1 can roasted diced TJ tomatoes drained
1 box of TJ vegetable or chicken broth.

Heat up. I use an immersion blender to half blend this to the texture I like.

1 container of TJ mirepoix (It's a contained of chopped onion, celery, carrots and located near the chopped onions)
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 box of TJ vegetable or chicken broth
1 can of TJ fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 bag of TJ frozen multigrain frozen veggies

1. Sauté mirepoix and add chopped garlic and sauté another minute.
2. Add the tomatoes, multigrain veggies, and broth.
3. Bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.

I do a very light immersion blend of the soup to thicken it, but very minimal. If you have any pesto around add a couple tablespoons and you've got a French Pistou.
posted by Elsie at 2:51 PM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

This tomato and chickpea soup is adapted from Once Upon a a Tart and can be replicated without chopping anything. Especially if you sub in dried rosemary instead of the fresh. I crave it every so often. You’re supposed to purée it a bit but you don’t have to if you’re not inclined.
posted by rdnnyc at 2:55 PM on February 4, 2018

Best answer: Pasta e fagioli is a good go-to meal with lots of veg, pasta and beans. Trader Joe's mirepoix will be your friend here too.

1 container mirepoix
olive oil
1 tsp pre-minced garlic
1 tin of each of 3 types of beans - my favourite combo is kidney, borlotti and cannelini but you can use butterbeans, black beans, pinto beans, whatever - drain them and rinse them
2 tins chopped tomatoes
about 75g ditalini pasta (I think this is about 1.5 cups?)
2 stock cubes
3 cups water
chilli flakes, salt & pepper to taste
parmesan cheese

Sauté the mirepoix in a couple of tbsp of olive oil until it softens. Add the garlic and chilli flakes. Dump in the tomatoes, sauté until warm, then add beans, stock cubes & water. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is done, about 15 min or so. Add salt & pepper to taste. Serve with parmesan cheese on top (real cheese, not that nasty powdered stuff you get in a can).

You can make lots of variations - try stirring in a handful of rocket (arugula) or spinach about 3 min before it's done; add fresh herbs in the sautéeing stage, add more or less chilli and/or tabasco; add a splash of balsamic vinegar to make it taste "meatier". It is awesome. You need one pot, a wooden spoon, a strainer for the beans and maybe a tin opener if your tins don't have ring pulls.
posted by Athanassiel at 3:12 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

We like a soup that is 1lb browned sausage, 1 bunch of kale, chopped, a couple of cans of chicken stock plus enough water to make sure the kale is covered, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5mins, voila. The original recipe included a can of white beans (such as great northern beans) but my family doesn't like the beans.

I suppose you could make it more simple by finding already cooked sausage and already chopped kale in a bag.

Dead simple, hearty, healthy. I make a pot every week now, and I stock up on sausage when it's sale and keep it in the freezer.
posted by vignettist at 3:13 PM on February 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

Another riff on red lentils: 101 Cookbook's Red Lentils with Lemon. That is my favorite lentil dish and it's simple to make, especially if you're buying the pre-diced onions.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 3:17 PM on February 4, 2018

I make mostly-bean chili sometimes. The ingredients are something like this.

Protein: sliced fully-cooked sausage, plain or seasoned fake "ground beef" (this stuff keeps in the freezer and is really handy!), soyrizo if I feel like browning it first

Body: any combo of canned or cooked-from-dry pinto, black, white, garbanzo, kidney beans, or chili beans (a can of refried beans will add thickness). Diced tomatoes, any kind except Italian seasoned. Tomato paste if you want more tomato flavor.

Aromatics and spices to suit: diced onion (I brown it, depends on your taste), minced garlic, Penzey's dried toasted onion or chopped garlic or ancho chile powder, chipotle powder, smoked paprika, diced frozen jalapenos/chilis, cumin (add last).

You can make it more filling/healthier by adding some cooked barley, bulgur wheat, etc., though I usually don't bother. Trader Joe's cornbread crisps are delightful with this!
posted by wintersweet at 3:58 PM on February 4, 2018

Just a thought, if you'd like some meat in your soup on occasion but don't want to deal with raw meat, browning, or even cutting up larger sausages: meatballs can work quite well. You can get them frozen and just drop a few in your soup to cook or warm through, depending on how pre-cooked they are. I have even used wee cocktail sausages in a pinch, although of course some types of sausage or meatball are healthier than others. IKEA also makes frozen veggie meatballs which have a lot of vegetable bits and whole chickpeas in them, and they're quite nice.
posted by spelunkingplato at 4:18 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Squash soup. It is I think a Weight Watchers recipe (but not if you put cream in).
Squash (3 bags of already cut from Trader Joe's)
[I just checked and the recipe says 12 oz. but I use more than that]
One large onion, chopped
One large apple (I use Fuji), chopped
one box vegetable stock
salt, pepper, nutmeg

In large pot add veg stock, squash, apple, onion
Simmer for about 10 minutes
Soupify with immersion blender ($20, does not take up a lot of room)
Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
(Add some cream, not too much. Unless you just read a lot of news. Then extra cream.)

Alternative: Substitute curry powder and coconut milk for nutmeg and cream. This is my current favorite. So easy! So good.
posted by Glinn at 4:21 PM on February 4, 2018

D'oh, missed the lactose intolerance caveat. But the original recipe does not use cream.
posted by Glinn at 4:23 PM on February 4, 2018

Minimalist Baker Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup!

I spent a few months this fall making random tomato soup recipes and this recipe was by far the easiest and best tasting. It's just cans of stuff and simmering and a thorough blend at the end and zero sauteeing whatsover, but it tastes like you've put in far more effort.

The recipe calls for roasting the red peppers yourself, but really you can just dump in a jar of red peppers for the same effect.
posted by mochapickle at 5:58 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is very quick, easy and delicious. It makes a big batch, so you can eat on it for days or freeze part of it to have for another time. I did mine in the crockpot but you could also make it in a pot on the stove, just sautee the garlic first. I never measure, so all spices and seasonings are to your own taste. The only thing I would advise is not to use as much chili powder as you would use for chili, unless you want it to actually be chili.

Easy Black Bean Soup

5 cans black beans, with liquid
1 lg can diced tomatoes
1 can corn, drained
1 sm can green chilis
6 cloves garlic, chopped (or garlic powder, to taste; or chopped garlic from a jar)
Chili powder
Onion powder
Seasoned salt

Throw all ingredients into pot and cook until done. Probably 6-8 hours on low in the crockpot, or 30 minutes on the stovetop. Mash up the beans a little with a potato masher to thicken it up.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:23 PM on February 4, 2018

Glinn, could you clarify what type of squash? Zucchini, acorn, butternut?
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:26 AM on February 5, 2018

I made a great soup decades ago from a newspaper recipe that has lived in my memory. It was just chicken broth, browned hamburger and a jar or two of salsa. Maybe some sautéed zucchini or something too. But the brilliance was the jarred salsa. It totally worked. I would garnish it with cilantro, if you like cilantro. And sour cream.
posted by bluebird at 12:23 PM on February 5, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the great ideas, guys! I marked a few as "best answer" to remind myself to try those recipes first, but all the responses were really helpful.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 6:05 PM on February 5, 2018

Glinn, could you clarify what type of squash? Zucchini, acorn, butternut?

posted by Glinn at 8:35 AM on November 24, 2018

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