Hearty Hamburger Soup

This great recipe for old-fashioned soup will remind you of your own childhood. The friend who gave my mom this recipe is embarrassed by the cans of soup now. But she shouldn't be. They give it body and — yes — heartiness, and the rest of the ingredients are as virtuous as can be. Okay, maybe not the Velveeta, but no one's forcing you to use that (though I always do). Sometimes, the new retro is the old retro.

Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
Ready In: 90 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings


    2 large onions, diced
    1 small red or green pepper, diced
    2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 1/2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey, sautéed and drained if necessary
    1 pound mushrooms, sliced and sautéed (these can be omitted if your children don't like them)
    2 cups grated carrots
    2 cans cream of chicken soup
    1 46-ounce can low-sodium tomato or V-8 juice
    1 tablespoon dried basil
    1 tablespoon each paprika, cumin, and pepper
    2 tablespoons chili powder (or more to taste)
    1 or 2 cans pinto or kidney beans, drained
    Salt to taste
    1 cup grated cheddar or Parmesan, or Velveeta chunks (optional)


  1. In a large pot, sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic in oil, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the salt and cheese (if using). Bring soup to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 1 hour. Taste for seasoning and serve hot, garnished with cheese (if using).

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