Five Dollar Vegetable Soup

What if I told you you could feed 6-8 people a delicious, nutritious, healthy and comforting soup for under $5 in a time of severe inflation? What if I also told you it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, keto, paleo and vegan? You don’t have to believe me but seeing (and tasting) is believing so prepare yourself for a sensational 4-ingredient Five Dollar Vegetable Soup on the most delicious budget ever!

Vegetable Soup

Bonus: It is as quick and easy to make as it is cheap.

Extra Bonus: I lost 10 pounds eating it. This is truly the soup that keeps on giving.

The Five Dollar Ingredients

I am so serious about showing you this soup won’t cost more than 5 bucks that I took a field trip to the supermarket to prove it! I went to a ShopRite in Northern New Jersey. (You also may very well have all these ingredients in your kitchen, spring you a trip to the market but I love me a fun field trip)!

The Broth

Better Than Bouillon is the most economical and flavorful soup base on the market.

Jar of Better Than Bouillon

Better Than Bouillon is a concentrate generally sold in 8-ounce jars (they have larger sizes at Costco) with a huge variety of flavors. An 8-ounce jar will make 38 cups of broth (1 teaspoon of it + 1 cup water = 1 cup of broth). It will also last for about a year and a half in the fridge once opened! So $4.99 for 38 cups of broth = about $.13 per cup of broth made. That means 6 cups of broth will only come to about $.80!

Better Than Bouillon is usually almost always cheapest in the market, but it’s also available online and comes in a large variety of flavors.

Adding vegetable broth to pot
Take that broth and add it to the pot.

The Tomatoes

Now for the tomatoes. Canned tomato products are generally offered at some of the best and lowest prices in the whole supermarket – especially if using the store brand.

Cans of tomato sauce

Tomato sauce (not the same as pasta sauce) is what provides a huge surge of flavor for this soup and it can be almost always be found at $.99 for a 15-ounce can!

Cans of diced tomatoes

The same goes for diced tomatoes. You can usually find a huge variety of them – some petite, some regular; some with seasonings added, some plain. There are even no-salt added varieties. Whichever you choose, like tomato sauce, a 14.5-ounce can will generally run you no more than $.99

Adding can of tomato sauce to pot
Add both the tomato sauce…
Adding can of diced tomatoes to pot
…and the diced tomatoes to join the broth in the pot.

The Vegetables

Frozen veggies in the supermarket are another gift from the budget Gods – and that’s especially fitting for a vegetable soup!

Bags of frozen vegetables
I found a 12-ounce bag of mixed veggies for $.88! So of course I grabbed two!
Adding frozen vegetables to pot
Add them to the pot as well.

Five Dollar Vegetable Soup. PROVEN.

Man in supermarket

So let’s tally it up and have some fun with a little mathematics:

$.80 for broth + $.99 for tomato sauce + $.99 for diced tomatoes + $1.76 for veggies = $4.54 to feed up to 8 people! (I was off with my math above by 2 cents because I rounded up the two cans of tomato products to $1.00). Did I tell you this recipe was a meal on a deal or what?!

Stirring pot
And with that, give that (under) FIVE DOLLAR Vegetable Soup a stir!

Cooking The Soup

Cooked vegetable soup
When the soup’s done, it’ll be nice and flavorful.
Ladle of soup
Grab a ladle…
Mug full of soup
…and place it into a bowl (or a mug – because mugs are super fun and comforting to eat soup out of. You can also drink it like tea!)

The Taste Test

Man trying soup
Now coyly bring that spoon to your mouth – because you practically made a soup to feed 8 people for under 5 bucks.
Man enjoying soup
Taste it.
Man giving thumbs up
And folks – this soup is as deep as it is cheap. Five Dollar Vegetable Soup for the win on the wallet AND the waistline!
Want a similar variety? Try my Alphabet Soup!
Five Dollar Vegetable Soup
Yield: 8

Five Dollar Vegetable Soup

Five Dollar Vegetable Soup

What if I told you you could feed 6-8 people a delicious, nutritious, healthy and comforting soup for under $5 in a time of severe inflation? What if I also told you it's dairy-free, gluten-free, keto, paleo and vegan? You don't have to believe me but seeing (and tasting) is believing so prepare yourself for a sensational 4-ingredient vegetable soup on the most delicious budget ever! Bonus: I lost 10 pounds eating it. This is truly the soup that keeps on giving.

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 2 minutes

Ingredients

The Five Dollar Soup (See Jeff's Tips)

  • 6 cups vegetable broth (Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base is by far the most cost efficient, flavorful, lasting. I use 6 teaspoons of it + 6 cups water)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes (any variety), with their juices
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce (not the same as pasta sauce - you can also use two 8-ounce cans)
  • 16-32 ounces frozen mixed vegetables

Options

  • Pasta, cooked separately according to package instructions (a small pasta such as ditalini, mini shells or tortellini is suggested)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Any additional seasonings you enjoy, to taste

Instructions

  1. Add the four soup ingredients to the Instant Pot (see Jeff's Tips) and stir. Secure the lid and move the valve to the sealing position. Hit Pressure Cook or Manual for 1 minute. Quick release when done.
  2. Serve the soup as is (it's deliciously light and healthy) or, if desired, add some hot sauce, Parmesan and/or any additional seasonings you have on hand to taste. If you cooked pasta, add it to the bowl upon serving.

Jeffrey's Tips

This recipe totally doesn't need to be done in an Instant Pot! To make it on a stove, just follow the same steps as above, add to a soup pot and cook at medium high heat until heated through.

Better Than Bouillon is usually almost always cheapest in the market, but it's also available online and comes in a large variety of flavors.

If you want the soup to be low sodium, use reduced sodium broth and no-salt added diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. You can always add salt and season to taste in Step 2 before serving.

Use literally any type of vegetable you wish. It doesn't need to be a bag of frozen mixed. Any you prefer or want to accommodate your lifestyle will do.

I suggest using at least 16 ounces of frozen veggies and up to 32 ounces. You can always start with less and add more - the choice is yours!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Lynn

    It looks like you’re doing more budget friendly recipes. I love it! Question about your weight loss: how often did you eat the soup and did you do anything else with it to lose the weight? You look great, by the way. Congratulations!

  2. Larry G. Wapnitsky

    unfortunately, better than bullion is no longer gluten free. according to the website it is made in a facility that processes gluten. this used to be one of my favorite ingredients until my son was diagnosed with celiac

  3. Jeffrey A Rapiey

    This is an awesome recipe. Living in southeastern Pennsylvania and being really close to the Jersey/Maryland shore, when I viewed this I thought that if you added some Old Bay seasoning and some crabmeat, you have classic Maryland style crab soup.

  4. Abigail Francis

    Hi Jeffrey! I am making this soup right now and wondering what is the time to come to pressure. I didn’t see that and you always put it in the total time. Also, I have now made over 50 of your recipes and they have all been AMAZING! I am excited for your next cook book too as I own all the others!

  5. Andy

    Looks good. If you added the pasta to the pot with everything else and cooked for say 5 minutes, would that work? Or would it break down too much?
    Enjoying the orange book I received as a gift. I love making soups in the Instant Pot.

  6. Cookie

    Love this soup and give it 5 stars as is, but I add chopped cabbage before cooking because I grew up with cabbage in our vegetable soup. And, hello! Cabbage! I also like cubed potatoes in veggie soup but don’t like them frozen and I like to freeze individual servings of soup. No problem. Nuke a small to medium potato til done, cube and add to soup. Love your recipes Jeffrey.

  7. Jill

    After cooking, I added approx. 2 tablespoons of Better than bouillon Italian Herb. Just the right amount of seasoning.

  8. Rebecca

    I added a little salt and Italian seasoning, but there are so many ways to dress up this recipe if you want. Delicious and couldn’t be easier!

  9. Tricia Wetta

    Weight Watchers had something similar. How about revamping their broccoli soup that was made with Rotel. Keep ’em coming. You have started America slimming down. What a role model you have become 🙂

  10. Sarah Tutt

    Good and adaptable.
    Easy to adapt for Garbage Day Eve (Use it or loose it day). Instead of frozen vegies, I used the ones I had planned to cook with but didn’t. I also adapted it for my 3Qt pot.

  11. Mark

    Hi Jeffrey
    I help my wife with student Council at our school. The kids want to do a fundraiser soup supper for or service project. I’m looking at the vegetable soup for those that don’t do meat. Also Chili and a chicken and noodles. We have a large kitchen at the school and large soup pans. My question is do I need to cut back on my bouillon broth when making several batches in one pot? Same for the other soups? Here in Illinois it’s soup time.
    Service project is for service members kids.

  12. Scott

    This is another of Jeffrey’s recipes that gets added to the rotation. Super easy and tasty. I added fresh broccoli since my wife loves it. But I am thinking of adding crunchy bacon next time as well as broccoli. This recipe is a great starting point for newbie “chefs” such as myself. I am 71 years old and have only been cooking for 9 months! The Instant Pot has changed my life!
    Thank you for providing reliable, great tasting recipes Jeffrey!

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