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Student Recipes

5 simple soups using kitchen leftovers

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Got an old courgette in the back of your fridge? Or some onions sitting 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.

In honour of this soup-er dish, we've come up with five of the easiest and best soup recipes for using up your leftovers. Did we mention they're cheap to make too?

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 of these cheap soup recipes hopefully be even lower.

Cheap soup recipes

These are the best and easiest soup recipes:

  1. Mushroom soup recipe

    Mushroom soup with mushrooms on chopping board

    Credit: Africa Studio – Shutterstock


    Serves: 4 | Costs: £1.72* (£0.43 per serving) | Time taken: 30 mins

    • 500g mushrooms (£1.48)
    • 1 onion (£0.12)
    • 1 vegetable stock cube (£0.07)
    • 2 cloves of garlic (£0.05)
    • 250ml water (free).


    1. Chop the onion and garlic.
    2. Fry the onion until it's soft and then add your garlic. Continue frying until they're both 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 you fancy, 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!

  2. Pumpkin soup recipe

    Pumpkin soup with pumpkins

    Credit: JeniFoto – Shutterstock


    Serves: 4 | Costs: £1.41* (£0.35 per serving) | Time taken: 35 mins

    • 1 pumpkin (£1) (or 1 butternut squash if pumpkins aren't available)
    • 1 onion (£0.12)
    • 1 chicken stock cube (£0.07)
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (£0.02)
    • A sprinkling of salt and black pepper (£0.01)
    • 250ml milk (£0.19)
    • 250ml water (free).


    1. Cut the pumpkin into slices, removing 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. Purée or mash the mixture thoroughly.
    5. Reheat your mix gently, adding seasoning for flavour and enough milk to make it pourable. Don't let it boil though – this will ruin the soup.
    6. Serve and enjoy!

  3. Tomato soup recipe

    Tomato soup with toast

    Credit: Alice Day – Shutterstock


    Serves: 4 | Costs: £1.49* (£0.37 per serving) | Time taken: 35 mins

    • 800g tinned chopped tomatoes (£0.70) (fresh tomatoes would also work)
    • 100ml crème fraîche (£0.33)
    • 1 onion (£0.12)
    • 1 vegetable stock cube (£0.07)
    • 1 carrot (£0.08)
    • 2 cloves of garlic (£0.05)
    • 20g butter (£0.14).


    1. 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 all together, and add in the crème fraîche and enough hot water to give it the desired consistency. 
    4. Serve and enjoy!

  4. Mixed vegetable soup recipe

    Bowl of soup with autumnal setup

    Credit: freeskyline – Shutterstock


    Serves: 4 | Costs: £0.72* (£0.18 per serving) | Time taken: 30 mins

    • 500g mixed vegetables (£0.60) – if possible, try to use your leftover veg
    • 1 vegetable stock cube (£0.07)
    • 2 cloves of garlic (£0.05)
    • Crème fraîche to serve (optional).


    1. Chop up vegetables and garlic.
    2. Fry the vegetables and, when they start to soften, add the garlic and fry until it's golden.
    3. Add the stock cube to a pan of hot water, and then 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.

  5. Italian soup recipe

    vegetable soup in green bowl

    Credit: nesavinov – Shutterstock


    Serves: 4 | Costs: £2.68* (£0.67 per serving) | Time taken: 30 mins

    • 15g of butter (£0.11)
    • 2 onions (£0.24)
    • 175g of potatoes (£0.12)
    • 2 carrots (£0.16)
    • 1 red pepper (£0.24)
    • 2–4 celery sticks (£0.16)
    • 4 cloves of garlic (£0.10)
    • 800g tin of chopped tomatoes (£0.70)
    • 2 tablespoons of tomato purée (£0.10)
    • 2 vegetable stock cubes (£0.15)
    • 500g spaghetti (£0.28)
    • 100g frozen spinach (£0.22)
    • 2 teaspoons dried basil (£0.10)
    • 500ml water (free). 
    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. When it's melted, add everything you chopped in step one apart from the garlic. When they start to soften, you can then 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 it to your taste.
    7. Serve and enjoy!

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

* Prices are correct at the time of writing (using, and prices as guidelines).

Laura Craddock

WRITTEN BY Laura Craddock

Alongside blogging about baking, Laura Craddock shares top tips and recipes for Save the Student to help our readers spend less on food. Laura studied English at the University of Dundee.
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