Plant Sale Soup

A hearty, wholesome and heart-warming hamburger soup recipe jam-packed with beans, vegetables and pasta, extra-good for feeding a crowd. Wondering about the name, "Plant Sale" Soup? You've got to admit, it's an unusual name for a soup! This is the soup that the Herb Society from Webster Groves, Missouri (a St. Louis suburb) feeds its volunteers during its annual spring plant sale!

Plant Sale Soup ♥, hearty hamburger soup recipe with beans, vegetables and pasta, great for feeding a crowd.

A Giant Pot of Homemade Soup Made from Scratch. Hearty, Healthy & Filling. A Vintage Tried-and-True Recipe. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Great for Meal Prep. How to Feed a Crowd. Potluck & Party Friendly. Low Fat. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Rave Reviews. So Good!!

~ PIN This ~

  • "We loved this soup! ... homey and comforting and hearty and delicious." ~ Felicia
  • "... it was INCREDIBLE! Definitely making this again." ~ Wendy

My Little "Farm" ... In Herb Pots

On My Mind ♥, three small white pots with herbs on a window sill looking out onto a snowy landscape.

Do farmers and home vegetable gardeners feel as proud picking fresh corn and tomatoes from their gardens as I do snipping herbs from pots?

Lucky for home cooks, fresh herbs are sold year-round in grocery stores, convenient albeit expensive.

But spring is the perfect time to plant a few herbs in sunny spots, either in the ground or in pots.

From now through frost, you too can experience a primal pleasure when crafting a salad, seasoning a vegetable or brightening a pasta dish.

Just step outside with scissors to harvest bits of heady rosemary or earthy sage or lively chive, all flavor and no calories.

I keep big pots of the ever-reliable chive, rosemary, parsley and mint. After that, it’s what catches my imagination: enough basil for salads though not pesto; tarragon and dill for fish; oregano and thyme for meat rubs; fragrant lavender; even catnip for the neighborhood cat.

A Friendly Challenge

Never Buy Fresh Herbs Again, another budget challenge ♥ How to grow a few favorite fresh herbs at home, the pots, the soil, the planting, everything you need to know.

Now's the time to plant fresh herbs to carry you through the summer.

Never done it before? Will you take the challenge? Never Buy Fresh Herbs Again!

This post shares many tips, all from personal experience, for growing fresh herbs in pots, in the ground, even in apartments.

One year, I missed the window for putting in fresh herbs, wow, did I ever miss them and wow, was it ever expensive to buy fresh herbs all summer long, especially knowing how lovely it is to just step outside and snip off a few fresh herbs. I'll never let that happen again!

Recipe Overview: Plant Sale Soup

  • This hamburger vegetable soup combines ground beef with diced fresh and frozen vegetables such as carrots, celery and cabbage simmered with canned beans and a little pasta in a savory broth. Seasoned with herbs and served hot, the soup offers hearty, satisfying sustenance for big families and social groups.
  • When to Serve = for volunteers working hard for an event or for family working outdoors on coolish or outright cold spring days
  • Distinctive Ingredients = Ground Beef + Vegetables + Herbs + Beans + Pasta
  • Protein = ground beef (or another ground meat) + canned kidney beans
  • Fresh Vegetables = garlic + onion + carrots + cabbage
  • Canned & Frozen Vegetables = canned tomato + tomato sauce + frozen green beans
  • Herbs & Seasoning = dried parsley + oregano + basil + salt + pepper + beef bouillon granules or paste
  • Carbs = a small pasta or macaroni
  • Optional Garnish = grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kitchen Tools = a very large pot, one big enough to hold 3 quarts of soup plus room for stirring / boiling
  • Timing = Allow about a half hour hands-on time, a full hour to put this soup on the table. But! It may also be made in advance, then reheated to serve later.
  • Appearance = This is a really pretty soup, thanks to the mix of colorful vegetables and beans plus a distinctive pasta shape
  • This is pantry-friendly and budget-friendly recipe that uses only very common ingredients.
  • This is a calorie-friendly recipe, only 134 calories per cup, but is also low-fat and high-protein.
  • As written, the recipe yields about 12 cups of soup. It's easy to make a smaller batch but you will end up with leftover tomato, tomato paste and canned beans.
  • So good! I hope you love it!

  • This Hamburger Soup is my go-to soup for just the two of us plus leftovers, it's another hearty soup with chunks of meat and a cornucopia of bright-colored vegetables.
  • Not quite what you're looking for? Check out my other soup recipes.

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Plant Sale Soup ♥, a hearty soup recipe with beans, vegetables and pasta, great for feeding a crowd.

~ PIN This ~

(Hearty Hamburger Soup for a Crowd)

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 55 minutes
Makes 12 cups
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 16 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 15 ounces canned kidney beans, rinsed
  • 3 cups water (just measure with an empty can, 3 cups equals two fills)
  • 5 teaspoons beef bouillon granules or beef-flavored Better Than Bouillon
  • 2 cups (6oz or 170g) chopped cabbage
  • 8 ounces (225g) frozen cut green beans
  • 1/2 cup (2oz or 56g) small pasta
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Brown the meat in large, heavy pot (see ALANNA's TIPS) such as a Dutch oven. Drain off the excess fat, then add the garlic, parsley, herbs (see TIPS), salt and pepper; cook for 2-3 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients except cabbage, green beans and pasta. Bring to a boil, lower then heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in the cabbage, green beans and pasta. Return to a boil, then simmer until the vegetables are tender and the pasta is fully cooked, about 10 minutes.

To serve, top with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

ALANNA's TIPS To remove virtually all the fat, rinse the cooked meat in hot water. For extra flavor, use a mild or spicy pork sausage rather than ground beef. Release the fragrance and flavor of dried herbs by rubbing them between your fingers before adding to dishes. Twelve cups is a LOT of soup – make sure your pot is big enough. Or use two! I start off with one Dutch oven, then split the soup in two before adding the cabbage, green beans and pasta. This soup freezes well!

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 134 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 16g Carb; 4g Fiber; 542mg Sodium; 23mg Cholesterol; 5g Sugar; 11g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 4 & Freestyle 3 & myWW green 3 & blue 3 & purple 3 & future WW points

This recipe was first published in print in my local newspaper where Kitchen Parade was the regular recipe column. Many thanks to Kirkwood reader and my neighbor Jane Smith for sharing her soup recipe, the one she makes for volunteers at the annual herb sale for the Webster Groves Herb Society.

Seasonal Cooking: This Same Week, Across the Years

Winter Fruit Salad Spring Stuffing with Leeks & Mushrooms Plant Sale Soup Caper Chops with Curried Carrots Chocolate Malt Ice Cream Old-Fashioned Black Walnut Chocolate Cake Banana Streusel Muffins Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle A Hundred Mile Dinner for the Incurable Epicureans in St. Louis Brown Sugar Lemon Curd Roasted Veggie Enchilada Casserole Creamy Oatmeal Greek Baked Beans (Gigantes Plaki) DIY Herb Blend for Herb Bread Easy Skillet Stroganoff (Beef or Chicken) Hummingbird Food

This Week, Elsewhere

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A Veggie Venture

If you like Kitchen Parade's recipes, you'll love A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables with more from-scratch recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, home to the famous Alphabet of Vegetables and vegetables in every course, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

More !Big! Pots of Soup

A collection of soup recipes ♥, lunch-simple to supper-substantial.
~ soup recipes ~
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At Last Black Bean Soup ♥, Laurie Colwin's recipe, just dump in the ingredients and cook it on the stove, in the oven or in a slow cooker.

Scandinavian Split-Pea Soup ♥, the classic Scandinavian recipe made with dried split peas on Thursdays across Sweden and Finland. Hearty comfort food, great for a crowd or a houseful, either meaty or vegan. Weight Watchers friendly!

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ ground beef recipes ~
~ carrot recipes ~
~ canned tomato recipes ~
~ canned bean recipes ~
~ cabbage recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2006 (print & online), 2010, 2015 (repub), 2019 & 2024

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/18/2007

    Sounds healthy & yummy ! This is a hearty meal in itself.


  2. We loved this soup! It's so homey and comforting and hearty and delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. I made this tonight with a few minor changes and it was INCREDIBLE! Definitely making this again. Omitted the green beans, used pork sausage, purple carrots, red cabbage.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna