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!
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)!
Better Than Bouillon is the most economical and flavorful soup base on the market.
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.
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.
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!
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
Frozen veggies in the supermarket are another gift from the budget Gods – and that’s especially fitting for a vegetable soup!
Five Dollar Vegetable Soup. PROVEN.
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?!
Cooking The Soup
The Taste Test
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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!