Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
LauriPatterson/istockphoto

Five-Ingredient Soups and Stews for an Easy Meal

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Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
LauriPatterson/istockphoto

In the Soup

Making a tasty and filling meal is easy if you have unlimited time, money, and ingredients to work with, but doing this from a limited selection of ingredients is far tougher. Here's a list of tasty, nourishing soups and stews requiring five ingredients or less (excluding salt and basic spices). You may have dinner at your fingertips.


Related: 30 Easy Soup Recipes That Last for Days



Creamy Cheese Grits
LauriPatterson/istockphoto

Corn and Cheddar Porridge

This slow cooker recipe is a breeze to make, and you may have all the ingredients on hand already. Just be sure to spare some cooking time. 


30 ounces chicken broth

1 cup cornmeal

1 7-ounce can of green chilies, drained

 ½ cup diced red pepper (seeds removed)

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese


1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


Combine all ingredients except cheese in a slow cooker and cook, covered, on high for two to three hours, or low for four to five hours. Mix in the cheese, and cook uncovered for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted. (For extra flavor and filling-ness you can also add a drained, 15-ounce can of sweet yellow corn, if you don't mind a sixth ingredient.)


Related: Hearty Winter Meals in 30 Minutes or Less

Corn Chowder
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Potato and Corn Chowder

Have a can of condensed soup? This quick meal is a rich, creamy upgrade thanks to canned corn and diced potatoes.


2 15-ounce cans condensed cheddar cheese soup

1 empty soup can of milk

1 15-ounce can diced potatoes, drained

1 15-ounce can sweet corn, drained


1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and black pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients over medium heat and stir until soup is blended and bubbling slightly. For taste variations, replace cheese soup with other condensed cream soup options.


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Homemade tomato egg drop soup
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Egg Drop Soup

This healing soup is super easy to make but does not keep well as a leftover, so it should be prepared in small portions (the usual serving size is one egg per person) and eaten fresh. 


15 ounces chicken stock

2 eggs


½ tablespoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon ground ginger


Combine chicken stock, soy sauce and ginger in a small pot and heat to a boil. Meanwhile, beat two eggs together in a small bowl. When the stock is boiling, slowly stir the beaten egg into it, then reduce heat and simmer for one to three minutes. Remove from heat, and serve immediately.


Related: 41 DIY Cold Remedies From Around the World


Red lentil and carrot soup
MargoeEdwards/istockphoto

Bean and Carrot Soup

If you have a vegetarian or a vegan in the house, this is an easy way to make a meal everyone (even meat eaters) will find hearty and filling. 


15 ounces peeled, diced carrots (canned or fresh)

15-ounce can of navy beans, drained

15 ounces vegetable or chicken stock


1 ½ tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon salt

ground black pepper to taste


This recipe can be made with any almost variety of beans, so substitute them for navy beans in equal quantities. Combine all ingredients in a soup pot and heat until bubbling, then puree the contents in a blender. This works well as a leftover; the carrot flavor becomes especially pronounced when reheated the next day.


lentil Soup with Crusty Bread on the table
esseffe/istockphoto

Ghanaian-Style Squash-and-Bean Soup


This is an Americanized version of a traditional Ghanaian soup called nkrakra (though even in Ghana, there's no single definitive recipe for it). 


1 ½ pounds stew beef, cut into half-inch cubes

1 ½ pounds Hubbard squash, cut into half-inch cubes 

2 medium tomatoes, chopped  (or, 1 15-ounce drained can of diced tomatoes)

10 ounces frozen baby lima beans


2 cups water

3 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¾ to 1 teaspoon ground red pepper 


Brown the beef, then combine beef, water, salt, ginger, and red pepper in a soup pot and heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour. Then add the squash; cover again and cook for about half an hour, or until the beef and squash are tender. 


Remove the squash, puree it in a blender, then return it to the soup along with the lima beans and tomatoes. Heat everything to boiling, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until the beans are tender.


Related: Hearty Meatless Meals Even Carnivores Will Devour


Consomé Ranchero (Ranchero Soup) Consome enhanced with epazote and jalapeño, garnished with pico de Gallo, chicken and sliced of avocado
Juanmonino/istockphoto

Avocado Broth

If you have a ripe avocado around but aren’t in the mood for guacamole, this simple broth may be just perfect. 


30 ounces beef broth

1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced

1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

dash or two of red hot sauce, according to taste


Combine broth, hot sauce and lemon juice to the boiling point, then add avocado and simmer for another one to three minutes.


chick-pea and lentil soup
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Yellow Split-Pea Soup

If you haven’t made split-pea soup before, you may be surprised by how easy it is to put together. Using yellow peas makes for a fun change of pace, too. 


1 pound dried yellow split peas

1 pound corned beef, cut into half-inch cubes

4 peeled, sliced carrots

4 diced celery stalks


8 cups water

2 tablespoons onion powder

1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

½ teaspoon ground black pepper


Combine water and peas in a Dutch oven and boil for two minutes; then remove from heat, cover, and let it sit for an hour. Then add the corned beef, onion powder, marjoram, and pepper; heat to boiling again, then cover and simmer for an hour. Add carrots and celery and simmer until the vegetables are soft (about 30 to 45 minutes). 


Homemade peanut cream soup close-up. horizontal
ALLEKO/istockphoto

Peanut Butter Soup

You may not think of peanut butter as a savory soup base, but it’s a rich source of protein and tasty to boot. This creamy soup is a decadent and filling meal.


½ cup butter or margarine

1 tablespoon white flour

28 ounces chicken broth

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup light cream or half-and-half


½ teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper



Melt butter over medium heat, then stir in flour and onion powder. Add the peanut butter in small quantities, stirring constantly, until everything melts into a smooth paste. Slowly stir in the chicken broth, plus salt and pepper, then raise heat to high until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to simmering and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and mix in cream or half-and-half immediately before serving.


tomato soup
kirin_photo/istockphoto

Basic Tomato Soup

Every tomato-soup family has their own preferred recipe; this simple one can be eaten as-is, or used as the base for more elaborate recipes — especially if seasoned diced tomatoes are replaced with plain ones.


2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes with basic, garlic and oregano, undrained

¼ cup butter or margarine

6 tablespoons flour

48 ounces chicken broth

grated Parmesan cheese


1 tablespoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

dash of salt



Puree the tomatoes and juice in a blender. Then melt the butter over medium heat, and blend in the flour until smooth. Add onion, garlic powder, and salt. Mix in the chicken broth, then add tomatoes and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve with Parmesan.


Homemade Organic Black Bean Soup
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Black Bean and Bacon Soup

This may sound like a complex soup to make, but it’s surprisingly simple. The bacon adds heartiness while the seasonings give this a savory punch.


28 ounces chicken broth

6 slices cooked bacon, broken into pieces

2 drained 15-ounce cans of black beans


1 tablespoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt and black pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients over medium-high heat until the soup starts to simmer, then reduce heat to medium and simmer an additional 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently. 


Related: 45 Comfort Foods for a Cozy Fall Meal


Pepper soup
macniak/istockphoto

Lentil and Tomato Soup

Make this simple soup part of your weekly rotation, especially if you’re vegetarian. Save any extra soup for lunch.


1 cup dried lentils

14 ounces chicken broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste


1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon onion powder

¼ tablespoon garlic powder

dash of cayenne pepper

dash of salt



Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until the lentils are soft, stirring occasionally.


Broccoli and Cheese Soup
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Basic Broccoli Soup

Don’t let that head of broccoli go bad in the back of the fridge. This tasty soup may be basic, but the cheese and evaporated milk make it both creamy and tangy.


2 cups chopped broccoli

15 ounces chicken broth

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional)


½ tablespoon onion powder

dash of salt


Put broccoli and broth in a large saucepan and simmer about 10 minutes until the broccoli is tender. Puree in a blender and return to saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk the cornstarch together with four tablespoons of milk until smooth. Then add the remainder of the milk, stir everything into the broccoli mixture, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for two minutes, then remove from heat and serve plain or sprinkled with cheese.