When you're in need of something that tastes delicious, using ingredients you probably already have on hand, this soup is it. It's budget friendly, simple to make, will fill you up... and it's easy to make ahead for meals and freeze.
As soon as the temperature starts to dip, I start to crave soup. It feels so nourishing! And since my husband doesn't love soup in general, I make a big batch of it for myself and eat it for lunches all week. And sometimes I pile eggs on it for breakfast... and then my husband goes and eats it because he realizes he loves it too... and then I have to make more. And I wouldn't have it any other way! I love it when one of my recipes is a big hit in our house.
I'm not sure why I started calling it hamburger soup and not beef soup or something similar but then I remembered that when I was little, I called all ground beef "hamburger". Add the tomato base, and somehow it just works... really well!
Gather Your Ingredients for This Healthy Hearty Hamburger Soup
You can really use any veggies in this soup and it'll still taste fabulous. Don't have zucchini? That's ok! Leave it out. Have some extra carrots? Throw those in instead. Have some green beans that need to be used up? Use them. Love sweet corn? Grab a cup out of your freezer and toss them in at the end.
Ground beef: I love a high-quality grass-fed grass-finished beef... the flavor is incomparable. We source a lot of ours locally and through ButchersBox, a company we trust and who conveniently delivers our meats directly to our doorstep.
Onion: What would a soup be without onion? Any kind of onion will work! I usually use red simply because that's what I normally keep on hand.
Garlic: In my opinion, when it comes to garlic, the more the merrier. I think I used 6 cloves the l time I made this recipe!
Red-skinned potatoes: Again, use whatever you have on hand. I call for red-skinned because that's what I used when I recorded the ingredients for this recipe but the last time I made it, I used regular ol' russet potatoes and it was just as good.
Carrots: I heart carrots. I heart them raw, cooked, you-name-it. I think they add just the right touch of sweetness to this recipe.
Celery: I’m not the kind of person who can slather some nut butter on a celery stick and enjoy it. I don’t even care to eat big bites of it cooked in dishes. But I love the flavor it adds when it’s finely diced! Am I the only one?
Zucchini: I can never taste zucchini in soup but I’m all about adding it for those extra minerals and vitamins it provides.
Tomato paste: Ok, so this is my secret ingredient so don’t tell anyone! Just kidding. But really, I SO much prefer the flavor of tomato paste over diced tomatoes. It has a richer creamier taste in my opinion.
Bone broth: Bone broth is so nutritious, I like to incorporate it as much as possible. Homemade is the best, of course. But I also like to keep Epic and Kettle & Fire brands on hand as well. If you don't have any bone broth on hand, any veggie broth will do too! In fact, I've used water and this recipe still tasted good. (Not as good, but good enough to eat and enjoy!)
Spices; salt, thyme, oregano: I love this combination of spices. They add so much flavor. And they keep adding more and more flavor as the day(s) go on... it's the beauty of spices.
Red pepper flakes: Totally optional but I love the slight kick it adds.
Kale: I'm all about getting some bright greens in whenever I can. I find the easiest way to incorporate them for me is to add them into a hot dish right at the end. It adds texture and nutrients but rarely affects the flavor.
Some Tips on How to Make Healthy Hearty Hamburger Soup
It's so easy to make this! You can easily make it in the Instant Pot (my preferred method), or on the stovetop. There are a couple notes I wanted to let you know about in anticipation of any questions you may have.
Start sautéing the hamburger meat first. Really you just need to cook it long enough to break it up. The fat in the meat will be what will help you sauté the onions so you don't need to add any additional fat or oil. I don't recommend using a lean meat for this reason (also, it just doesn't taste as good!) But if you do prefer a lean meat, then you may need to add some butter or avocado oil to keep your onions from sticking to the pan.
Don't skimp on the salt. I don't call for a lot for those who are sensitive but I highly recommend you add more! It adds more much-needed minerals and supercharges the flavor!
Don't use a lean meat. I'd avoid using for the reason stated in tip #1 above. And also because the fat in the meat lends flavor to this recipe really well.
Use a homemade bone broth: It seriously makes the flavor so much better! If you're unsure how to make it, check out the highlight on my Instagram, "bone broth" and I'll walk you through it... or send me a dm! If you don't have it, totally ok. You can use water in a pinch!