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Student Recipes

5 simple soups using kitchen leftovers

Got an old courgette somewhere in the back of your fridge? Some onions sitting sadly in the cupboard? Now's the time to put them to good use...

Pumpkin soup with garneshes

Credit: Anna_Pustynnikova – Shutterstock

Soup (a.k.a. the king of foods) is filling, easy to make and great for using up all of your leftovers. It's also hard to beat when you're feeling under the weather, or just in the mood for something hot and comforting on a cold day.

So, in honour of this soup-ep dish (see what we did there?), we've come up with four of the easiest and best soup recipes for using up your leftovers.

We've priced up these recipes by working out the price of all ingredients bought new – but, as you'll likely be able to use some leftovers to make them, the overall cost should hopefully be even lower.

Best simple soup ideas

Mushroom soup recipe

Mushroom soup with mushrooms on chopping board

Credit: Africa Studio – Shutterstock


Serves: 4 | Costs: £1.23* (£0.31 per serving) | Time taken: 30 mins

  • 500g mushrooms (£1.07)
  • 1 onion (£0.07)
  • 1 vegetable stock cube (£0.05)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (£0.04)
  • 250ml water (free)


  1. Chop the onion and garlic
  2. Fry the onion until it's soft and then add garlic. Continue frying until they're golden
  3. Chop up your mushrooms and break up the stock cube
  4. Add the mushrooms, stock, onion and garlic to a pan of water
  5. Cook on a low–medium heat, leaving it to simmer for 20 mins. At this point, you can add salt and pepper and any spices such as chilli or cumin
  6. Blend everything together and you're ready to eat. Feel free to add some cream to make it more, well, creamy!

Pumpkin soup recipe

Pumpkin soup with pumpkins

Credit: JeniFoto – Shutterstock


Serves: 4 | Costs: £2.30* (£0.58 per serving) | Time taken: 35 mins

  • 1 pumpkin (£2)
  • 1 onion (£0.07)
  • 1 chicken stock cube (£0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (£0.05)
  • Sprinkling of salt and black pepper (£0.01)
  • 250ml milk (£0.12)
  • 250ml water (free)


  1. Cut the pumpkin into slices and remove the skin and pips
  2. Fill a pan with water and place on a low–medium heat
  3. Add the pumpkin, onion, crumbled stock cube and nutmeg to the mix and leave to simmer until the pumpkin is soft
  4. Puree or mash thoroughly
  5. Reheat gently, adding seasoning for flavour and enough milk to make pourable. Do not let it boil though – this will ruin the soup!

Tomato soup recipe

Tomato soup with toast

Credit: Alice Day – Shutterstock


Serves: 4 | Costs: £1.27* (£0.32 per serving) | Time taken: 35 mins

  • 800g tinned chopped tomatoes (£0.56) – fresh tomatoes would also work
  • 100ml crème fraîche (£0.37)
  • 1 onion (£0.07)
  • 1 vegetable stock cube (£0.05)
  • 1 carrot (£0.05)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (£0.04)
  • 1 knob of butter (£0.13)


  1. First, melt the butter in a pan with the garlic, onion and carrot and cook until soft
  2. Pour in the tomatoes, crumble in a stock cube and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes
  3. Blend it up, add in the crème fraîche and enough hot water to give it the desired consistency.

Mixed vegetable soup recipe

Bowl of soup with autumnal setup

Credit: freeskyline – Shutterstock


Serves: 4 | Costs: £0.59* (£0.15 per serving) | Time taken: 30 mins

  • 500g mixed vegetables (£0.50) – if possible, try to use your leftover veg
  • 1 vegetable stock cube (£0.05)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (£0.04)
  • Crème fraîche to serve (optional)


  1. First chop up your vegetables and garlic
  2. Fry the vegetables and, when they start to soften, add the garlic and fry until they're golden 
  3. Add the stock cube to a pan of hot water and add the veg and garlic
  4. If you fancy adding extra spices, add them now!
  5. Either blitz the veg or keep it in chunks, add crème fraîche if you want to make it a bit creamier, and serve.

Italian soup recipe

vegetable soup in green bowl

Credit: nesavinov – Shutterstock


Serves: 4 | Costs: £2.69* (£0.67 per serving) | Time taken: 30 mins

  • Small knob of butter (£0.15)
  • 2 onions (£0.24)
  • 175g of potatoes (£0.29)
  • 2 carrots (£0.10)
  • 1 red pepper (£0.32)
  • 2–4 celery sticks (£0.25)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (£0.10)
  • 800g tin of chopped tomatoes (£0.56)
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato purée (£0.05)
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes (£0.10)
  • 500g spaghetti (£0.20)
  • 100g frozen spinach (£0.17)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil (£0.16)
  • 500ml water. 
This recipe is part of our student meal plan!


  1. Chop up the potatoes, onions, garlic, pepper, carrots and celery
  2. Add the butter to a saucepan, and when it's melted add the chopped potatoes, onions, carrots, pepper, celery. When they start to soften, add the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes
  3. Pour the tin of tomatoes into the pan and add tomato purée, water and stock cubes
  4. Let the mixture in the pan boil and then leave it to simmer for 10 minutes
  5. Add spaghetti (uncooked) to the pan and let it simmer for 10 more minutes
  6. Then add the basil and spinach, bring the soup to a boil and season to your taste
  7. Serve and enjoy!

If you (like us) can't bear wasting food, check out our guide to keeping food fresh for longer.

* Prices are correct as of August 2020 (using, and prices as guidelines).


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