{Healthier} Hamburger Soup

Gayle McLeod | November 12, 2016

With so many variations of "Hamburger Soup" floating around, I think it's bordering on serendipitous that the version my mom made for me as a kid growing up in the 70's turned out to be the same one my husband's mom made for him. We didn't meet until much later in life and grew up in different towns, so when my mother-in-law whipped up a batch to feed our young family of four, the similarity floored me.

There is absolutely nothing complicated about this soup, and usually, the most comforting foods are the simplest. In fact, the original recipe has just one line of instruction, and it's the idea of using prepared soups that makes this so easy.

I'm calling this a "healthier" hamburger soup because I re-worked this recipe to use our all-natural soups instead of the condensed canned soups the original calls for.  After a quick scan of the labels on those products, I found they are often very high in sodium and contain ingredients like glucose-fructose, added colours and even MSG – all things I choose to avoid for my family. 

Whatever products you decide to use for this, I hope you find it to be a family favourite and as comforting to your loves as it is to ours. There is one ingredient that can't be omitted, though: love.

Makes 8 servings.


500 - 750g lean ground beef 

1 tbsp olive oil 

1 large yellow onion, medium dice (about 2 cups)

1/2 tsp coarse salt

3 ribs celery, diced (about 1 heaping cup)

3 medium carrots, diced (about 1 heaping cup)

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried

freshly ground black pepper

1 litre container Intense Natural Chicken Stock

1/2 litre container Fresh Tomato & Basil Bisque

1 28oz can diced tomatoes (look for BPA free cans, or use jarred tomatoes if possible)

1/3 cup barley (pot and pearl barley both work, however, pot barley is less processed leaving more of the bran layer intact)

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped



Place a large heavy pot or dutch oven over medium heat and cook the ground beef until browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef from the pot and set aside. You can either pour out all the fat from the beef, leaving about one tablespoon, or use the olive oil if necessary for the next step.

Add the onions and coarse salt to the pot and cook for a couple of minutes until just beginning to soften. {At this point, you can transfer the cooked onions and beef to a crockpot with the remaining ingredients and cook on high for 4-6 hours.} Continuing with the stovetop method... add to the onions – celery, carrots, bay leaf, thyme and season with freshly ground black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until just beginning to soften. 

Add the remaining ingredients including the cooked beef to the pot and bring to a lively simmer. Cover with a lid, turn down the heat and set to a bare simmer for at least two hours.





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