Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tom Thumb. All opinions are 100% mine.

Craving a cozy soup that's hearty, healthy & budget-friendly? Fix a batch of this easy hamburger vegetable soup all in one pot on the stove in less than 90 minutes. It's packed with ground beef, carrots, celery, cabbage, sweet bell pepper, fire-roasted tomatoes, and potatoes all swimming in a rich tomato & beef broth. This is one of those soups that everyone loves and it also freezes well, which makes it perfect for meal prepping. (gluten-free, grain-free & dairy-free)

Easy Hamburger Vegetable Soup with Ground Beef

One of my meal planning goals the past few months has been to fix a big batch of soup once a week, eat it for two nights in a row, then freeze the leftovers (usually two servings, sometimes four).

Doing this helps me build up a stash of healthy meals I can grab last-minute from the freezer when I'm tired and/or busy and don't feel like cooking. This happens more than I'd like to admit.

My go-to soups for meal prep have been smoked sausage & vegetable soup, creamy white chicken chili (I'm happy to report the cream cheese did not separate), chicken tortilla soup (rotisserie chicken for the win) and cabbage roll soup (rice cooked separately).

Other soups, like my spicy Zuppa Toscana (potato & sausage) soup and creamy chicken noodle soup don't freeze as well because of the cream + heavy carb element (potatoes or noodles), so we happily eat them three nights in a row. And I enjoy two nights off from washing dishes. ::deep contented sigh::

This hamburger soup is our current favorite because it's hearty, cozy, and nourishing. Kind of like a hug in a bowl, but healthier. I normally reach for cream-based soups when I want that level of comfort food, but this one is the polar opposite and just as good.

It has a rich beef & tomato-based broth with some ground beef for flavor & protein but it's absolutely LOADED with vegetables. Which makes it the healthiest soup I've shared here so far.

And it's far from bland. I made sure of that by adding plenty of aromatics (garlic, onion, carrot & celery) + some simple flavor enhancers at the end (the "secret ingredient" in many recipes). I always keep these ingredients on hand (they have long shelf lives) for tweaking soups, stews, and other dishes.

Ingredients For Making Hamburger (Ground Beef) Vegetable Soup

Ingredients For Hamburger (Ground Beef) Vegetable Soup

Here's what you'll need to make this dish (scroll down for easy substitution ideas):

  • Cooking Oil: Bacon grease is my preferred cooking fat for tomato & beef-based soups & stews because it adds an extra layer of saltiness & smokiness. I keep a jar in my fridge (I strain it after baking bacon in the oven for breakfast sandwiches). If you don't have any on hand, avocado oil, olive oil, and ghee are good options.
  • Aromatics: Onion, celery & carrot (a.k.a. mirepoix) + garlic (all fresh). These have a long shelf life at room temperature, are inexpensive (my mirepoix ingredients are from O Organics®), and form the backbone of most soups. They're also REALLY good for you.
  • Ground Beef: Also called hamburger meat by many folks (hence the recipe title). I used a pound of O Organics® 85% lean/15% fat grass-fed ground beef in this recipe in order to make it more budget-friendly and focus on the vegetables, but you can easily double the ground beef to increase the amount of protein.
  • Tomato Paste & Canned Tomatoes: Any time beef and/or beef broth is involved, I almost always add tomato paste (or sauce). It creates a depth of flavor that's simple, yet deeply satisfying. And cheap, too! Skip the fancy tubes and try this easy kitchen hack instead: grab a small can of tomato paste for 99 cents or less, scoop it out in tablespoon portions to flash freeze, and store it in the freezer for recipes like this. As for canned tomatoes, fire-roasted diced tomatoes are my favorite because they have extra flavor + sweetness. They're a must-have staple in my pantry for lots of dishes, but especially homemade tomato soup.
  • Russet Potato & Sweet Potato: This starchy vegetable makes the soup more filling since there are no grains. If you want you can use two russet potatoes instead (or waxy ones like Yukon gold or red). However, the sweet potato helps to balance the bitterness from the cabbage (carrot helps, too) and adds a fun pop of color.
  • Sweet Bell Pepper & Cabbage: Both of these nutritious veggies are packed with vitamin-C, which makes them excellent for meals during the colder months. The bell pepper adds color & sweetness, while the cabbage adds bulk and a slight bitterness to the soup. You can swap these out with other vegetables in order to use what you have on hand, but I recommend trying this recipe with them at least once. If you have any extra leftover, use them for my smoked sausage, potatoes & veggies sheet pan dinner.
  • Beef Broth: I use low-sodium so I can add more of my favorite sea salt (typically flaky Maldon sea salt or fine Celtic sea salt) but you can use regular if you have it on hand.
  • Seasonings: The main seasoning is Italian seasoning (a blend of dried herbs like oregano, basil, marjoram, sage & garlic), followed by crushed red pepper flakes (for a bit of heat), and salt + pepper. Super simple!
  • Flavor Enhancers: For this recipe, I use a combo of Worcestershire sauce, white wine vinegar (or lemon juice), and sugar (I used coconut sugar). And they all serve a specific purpose. The Worcestershire sauce adds a punch of savory, umami flavor to the soup. The white wine vinegar (or lemon juice) brightens the flavor of the soup. It really makes everything pop. The sugar helps to balance out the bitterness from the cabbage & the acidity from the canned tomatoes. Add these three ingredients at the end (to taste) and they will make a HUGE difference. And try them with other soups to improve the flavor.

How to Make Hamburger Vegetable Soup (with Ground Beef)

How to Make Hamburger Vegetable Soup

Here's a rundown of the basic technique. Once you learn this, you can swap out the protein, vegetables & spices to use up random ingredients in your kitchen.

  1. Saute the Aromatics, Ground Beef & Tomato Paste: This helps to soften & "sweat" the onion, celery, carrot & garlic prior to simmering. Browning the meat releases some of the delicious fat which will then be infused into the broth. Adding the tomato paste here helps to mix it in faster (in case you're adding it in straight from the freezer).
  2. Dump in the Bell Pepper, Cabbage, Potatoes, Canned Tomatoes & Seasonings: My ratio of vegetables to broth covers the ingredients completely, but if you double anything or add extra veggies/meat you may need to add extra broth or water to ensure everything is fully submerged.
  3. Bring to a Boil then Simmer: If you're in a rush, you can simmer the soup until the potatoes are just tender (30ish minutes), but I prefer to cook it for a full hour so all the flavors from the vegetables, meat & seasonings infuse into the broth.
  4. Add the Flavor Enhancers and Taste for Seasonings: How much of the Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and sugar (+ salt & pepper) to add will depend on which vegetables you used, how much was added, and the sodium content of your broth + canned tomatoes. Add my initial amounts, then if you need to balance out the flavors of the soup more (or make it punchier), add a little bit of one (or all) of them until it tastes good to you.
To make the meal heartier, I like to serve this soup with crusty buttered bread (toasted first). Cornbread muffins are another good option. To save money on those, make your own homemade cornbread mix to keep in your pantry for a last-minute side. 

Easy Ground Beef & Vegetable Soup Recipe (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free & Dairy-Free)

Easy Swaps & Substitution Ideas

Here are some basic ones to get you started in case you're trying to make hamburger soup today with whatever is on hand in your pantry, fridge & freezer (this will save you money):

  • Instead of yellow or sweet onion, use red onion, white onion, or shallots.
  • Out of beef broth? Use chicken broth, turkey broth, or vegetable broth.
  • No sweet potatoes on hand? Use cubed butternut squash (or any other winter squash).
  • Prefer noodles in your hamburger soup? Omit the potatoes and sub 1/2 to 1 cup of small dried pasta (like elbow macaroni or ditalini). Wait to add the pasta until the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, depending on how soft you enjoy your noodles.
  • Want to keep it lower carb? Use chopped cauliflower florets or thick slices of zucchini instead of potatoes. Since those vegetables cook much quicker, add them in the last 15-20 minutes of cooking.
  • Instead of sweet bell pepper, use a cup or two of frozen sweet corn or canned sweet corn (drained).
  • Need an alternative to beef? Try another ground meat (plain or flavored) like pork, chicken, turkey, or lamb.
  • No Worcestershire sauce on hand? Use fish sauce or soy sauce as a substitute. They won't have the same flavor but they will still help to enhance the umami-ness + saltiness of the soup.
  • Instead of cabbage, add chopped kale, rainbow chard, collards, or spinach.

Homemade Vegetable Beef Soup with Hamburger & Potatoes

How to Save Time on Prep

This recipe is VERY EASY but it does require a bit of prep since we're using fresh veggies (worth it in my opinion, especially if you're planning to freeze part of it). Here's how you can save a bit of time:

  • use a bag of coleslaw mix instead of shredding your own cabbage
  • chop the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and bell pepper (also the cabbage if you're not using the tip from above) earlier in the week and store them in an airtight container in the fridge
  • instead of chopping up onion, celery & carrot separately, buy a pre-diced mixture of mirepoix from the store
  • portion your can of tomato paste into tablespoon-sized mounds, and store them in the freezer. Pull out 4 tablespoons of paste directly from the freezer right before cooking (yes, no need to thaw)
  • prep the potatoes as the aromatics and/or ground beef are cooking (they will discolor if cut ahead of time)

Healthy & Hearty Hamburger Soup Recipe with Potatoes

Where to Grab Ingredients For This Soup

Since I wanted high-quality vegetables, meat & seasonings for this recipe that were also affordable (a big priority in January & February), I grabbed all the ingredients for this hamburger soup at my local Tom Thumb. Easy peasy.

They're my go-to because ABSCo’s exclusive brands like O Organics®, Open Nature®, and Signature Brands (Signature SELECT™, Signature Farms® & Signature Cafe®) help to stretch my budget and shopping trips with high-quality products at a value in every aisle of the store.

More features I love:

  • O Organics® offers non-GMO and 100% USDA-certified organic products.
  • Open Nature® offers minimally-processed plant-based products free from 110 food additives.
  • Signature Brands has options for every meal and occasion including ready to eat, ready to heat, and cooking from scratch ingredients.

Note: Live outside the Dallas area? I shopped at my local Tom Thumb but you can also Shop these affordable high-quality products at the Albertsons Companies family of stores (in person or online), including Albertsons, Safeway, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market, and Vons.

TIP: Tom Thumb also offers Grocery Delivery and DriveUp & Go™ for convenient ways to shop!

Hamburger Vegetable Soup Recipe with O Organics Products From Tom Thumb

More Healthy Comfort Food Recipes:

hamburger soup, ground beef, vegetable, easy, homemade, best
Main Dish
Yield: 8 servings
Author: Elaina - The Rising Spoon
Hamburger Vegetable Soup

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 1 HourTotal time: 1 H & 20 M


  • 1 tablespoon of bacon grease or cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion (yellow or sweet), peeled & diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, thinly sliced (I used O Organics® celery hearts)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, quartered & thinly sliced (I used O Organics carrots®)
  • 1 lb. of ground beef (I used O Organics® 85% lean/15% fat grass-fed ground beef)
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic (3-4 large cloves)
  • 2 sweet bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow), cored & diced
  • 2 cups of shredded cabbage
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled & chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled & chopped
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt or Kosher salt (plus more at the end, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper (plus more at the end, to taste)
  • 7 cups of low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar (I used coconut sugar)
Toppings (Optional):
  • shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • extra black pepper


  1. Measure the bacon grease (or cooking oil) into a large pot set to medium-high heat. Once it's melted & warmed, add the onion, carrot, and celery. Sprinkle with a bit of salt & pepper, then cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the ground beef, sprinkle with a bit more salt & pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes, breaking the meat into small chunks with a wooden spoon.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the sweet bell pepper, cabbage, russet potato, sweet potato, diced tomatoes, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and beef broth.
  5. Stir the mixture well, cover with a lid, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for one hour, or until the potatoes are tender and the broth has absorbed the flavors from the beef, dried herbs & fresh aromatics.
  6. Measure in the Worcestershire sauce, vinegar (or lemon juice), and sugar. Taste the soup for seasoning. If needed, add more salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar, or Worcestershire sauce one teaspoon at a time to balance the flavors of the broth.
  7. To serve, ladle the hamburger soup into bowls and (optional) top with parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley, and extra black pepper. Pair with crusty buttered bread for dunking in the savory broth.
  8. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days OR freeze for up to 3 months.


POT SIZE: This soup has LOTS of veggies and broth, so I recommend using at least a 7-quart pot in order to have enough room for everything to cook properly. If you only have a 5-6 quart pot and still want to make this, omit a few of the veggies (like the cabbage & one of the bell peppers) and reduce the broth by a cup.

Did you make this recipe?
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Adapted from my Cabbage Roll Soup recipe and Food Faith Fitness' Crock Pot Paleo Hamburger Soup Recipe

Craving a cozy soup that's hearty, healthy & budget-friendly? Fix a batch of this easy hamburger vegetable soup all in one pot on the stove in less than 90 minutes. It's packed with ground beef, carrots, celery, cabbage, sweet bell pepper, fire-roasted tomatoes, and potatoes all swimming in a rich tomato & beef broth. This is one of those soups that everyone loves and it also freezes well, which makes it perfect for meal prepping. (gluten-free, grain-free & dairy-free)

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I ONLY recommend helpful products that I myself would use.

MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: The information included on this website is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions expressed here are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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