Aunt Joan handed me a 'care package' as we were walking out the door after that very first visit. But I had no idea what delight that margarine container held until I opened it the next day. "It's nothing fancy," she used to say. Oh but it was sooo much better than fancy; it was a warm refuge. It was this home cooked Easy Hamburger Soup recipe. You can't get full on fancy anyway...
Unlike the Best of Bridge hamburger soup, this version has no barley and potatoes instead. It's an easy and Weight Watchers friendly hamburger soup @ 3 WW points on my plan. This soup is a great easy meal any time of the year but perfect for a chilly day.
I also happened to be a starving student at the time and not much of a cook. We had only moved to Calgary and away from my hometown a year earlier. And since home was 1700 km's away, dropping into Mom & Dad's for a home cooked meal was no longer an option. I was yearning for home cooking and in serious withdrawal. And wow - that hamburger soup encapsulated every comfort food vibe in existence!
Joan was my husband's aunt and when we first moved to Calgary, her and Uncle Harry welcomed us with open arms, regularly having us over for family get-togethers, BBQ's and holiday dinner celebrations. It was so wonderful to have family to share those special times with. She was also an excellent cook.
Joan was a huge fan of the The Best of Bridge cookbooks. And because of her I made it my mission to collect the entire series. This recipe is adapted from the Best of Bridge hamburger soup but I do a couple of things differently, including using potatoes instead of barley. I prefer potatoes because it's like hearty meat and potatoes in soup form and therefore the ultimate in comfort food!
This Easy Hamburger soup is a simple one-pot, hearty soup recipe, made with lean beef (hamburger), potatoes, carrots, onions, celery and a delicious flavorful broth and one that the whole family will love! I'm all about doing less dishes so being able to make a meal all in one pot is pure gold and another reason I love this soup! If you are looking for a one-pot soup that’s delicious, hearty healthy and economical (the reason why it's also known as "poor man's soup ", then you’ll love this one! It's also Weight Watchers friendly!
For this recipe, you'll need basic ingredients:
- extra lean ground beef
- beef bouillon
- bay leaves
- tomato soup
- canned tomatoes
- salt and black pepper to taste
*please see recipe card for quantities
If potatoes are a zero (0) point food for you too, congratulations - you scored! This Weight Watchers friendly hamburger soup is 3 WW points on my plan because I won the food lottery and have potatoes as a 0 point food. You can plug the ingredients into the recipe builder in the ww app to see how many points this recipe is on your plan.
📖 Variations & Substitutions
- Ground Beef/hamburger: further lighten it up/make it more WW friendly with ground turkey or chicken
- Potatoes: you could use red potatoes, russet potatoes, Yukon potatoes or barley or macaroni instead
- Vegetables: you could add different vegetables like green beans, bell peppers, peas, mixed frozen vegetables or zucchini. * I often keep 2 cup bags of frozen shredded zucchini in the freezer and drop them right into soups like this!
- Onions - you could you white or yellow onion
- Spicy - add a little chili powder to spice it up!
You'll need a large stock pot and a skillet or a Dutch oven (affiliate link).
💭 Top Tip
Why you don't need to peel your potatoes
As you can see from the photos, I don't peel potatoes for this hamburger soup. If you are peeling your potatoes, unless you really enjoy extra work, you can stop now. It's the most nutrient filled part of the potato so why would you want to peel all those nutrients away and add more unnecessary waste to the environment? Potato peels contain more iron than the flesh of the potatoes and they're also a good source of fiber, vitamin B, and vitamin C. And I don't know about you, but I really hate peeling potatoes. Maybe it was the endless buckets I peeled at my grandparents farm when I was a kid. Or the zillion I peeled that summer I worked at the fly-in fishing camp. But I'm guessing I'm not alone in my loathing of this task. You can read more about why you don't need to peel your potatoes HERE and HERE.
How long is hamburger soup good for in the fridge?
Leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge and frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat it in the microwave or over low heat on the stove top.
🥗 Side Dishes
What to serve with Hamburger Soup
Crusty bread, biscuits and salads make great sides for Hamburger soup!
- Everything Bagel Cloud Bread Recipe (WW friendly) shown below
- Bread Machine Italian Breadsticks
- Bread Machine Onion & Olive Bread
- Baking Powder Biscuits
- Spinach Salad with Honey Lime Cilantro Dressing
Joan continued to fill us with delicious, non-fancy and nourishing food, as well as sending us home with delightful 'care packages' for many years. And eventually I began to make this ground beef soup myself. I love soup with ground beef in it because it just makes soup that much more filling so that it's an actual meal. My Carrot Soup (shown below) and Shortcut Borscht are also soups made with ground beef so they’re a meal as well!
Sadly, Joan passed away over a decade ago. So, in order to honor her memory I continue to cook several of her recipes, like this easy beef and potato soup and her Turnip & Apple Casserole as well as her Tuna Melts (shown below). Because cooking her food is my way of remembering her.
My Amazon Recommendations (affiliate links)
So if you are looking for easy soup recipes,
Did you make this hearty hamburger soup? Please RATE THE RECIPE below!
📋Easy Hamburger Soup Recipe
- 1 ½ lbs extra lean ground beef
- 1 cup carrots, grated * or substitute chopped carrots
- 5 medium potatoes, chopped * I don't peel mine for this soup, but it's optional
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 tablespoon beef bouillon
- 4 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sticks chopped celery
- 10 ounce - can of tomato soup
- 1 clove garlic, minced * or use minced garlic from jar equivalent measure
- 28 ounce -can of diced tomatoes (with juice)
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- Brown beef and onion in large pot or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through. Drain.
- Add all other remaining ingredients to pot, then add ground beef with onion back to pot. . Simmer covered for 1 hour or until potatoes are cooked through (a fork can easily go through)
- Serve with bread and butter or biscuits.