Simple Tomato And Bean Soup, 20p. [VG/V/DF/GF]

This simple staple started off as a tin of baked beans, thoroughly rinsed, plus a carton of chopped tomatoes – out of which I made a hearty, filling soup suitable for lunch or a light supper. I’ve jazzed it up a bit since then! And don’t be scared of rinsing baked beans, they are normally just haricot or borlotti or cannelloni beans slathered in ‘that’ bright orange tomato sauce, and the value range versions are much cheaper than their plain counterparts. In case you’re interested, this recipe cost 15p per portion in 2012, and is up to 19p per portion 6 years later. Not the worst price rise I’ve seen when rewriting my older recipes, but still a little annoying.)

Serves 4 at 20p each

1 medium onion, 7p (59p/1kg, Farm Stores at Asda)

2 cloves of garlic, 4p
(60p/3 bulbs, Growers Selection at Asda)

1 carrot, 9p
(avg price 1 loose carrot, Growers Selection at Asda)

500ml stock made with 1 stock cube and water, 3p
 (39p/12, Asda)

1 x 400g tin of beans, 25p
(23p/420g, Smart Price at Asda)

1 tsp thyme, 4p
(37p/18g, Asda)

1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes, 30p
(KTC at Asda)


Peel and chop the onion, peel and finely chop the garlic, wash and chop the carrot. Put them all into a saucepan and cover with the stock.

Drain and rinse the tinned beans, then throw them into the pan.

Add the herbs and the chopped tomatoes, then simmer for 30 minutes until the veg are soft.

This soup can be served chunky – by tipping half into a blender, pulsing and mixing the purée back in with the chunky half in the pan – or smooth, by pulsing the lot in a blender.

 (You may notice I have changed from pricing my recipes at Sainsburys after 6 years of consistently doing so. Sainsburys are major donors to the Conservative Party and I can no longer in good conscience promote them on my website. I will be pricing my recipes at other supermarkets from now on.)

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  1. I really enjoy reading your recipes.
    I just wanted to let you know that if there is a 99p store near you, then you can normally buy 3 x 400g cans of cannellini beans / butter beans/ chickpeas for 99p. Also if there is a Home Bargains in the area they have 4 x 400g cans of tomatoes for £1 (or 29p a can if bought individually).

  2. I didn’t have thyme but I did have a bay leaf and some paprika. Spanish-ish style? We shall see…

    • It was yummy. Especially on the second day when it had got all nice and thick and the flavours had developed. One for the recipe book…

  3. I might make a version of this tomorrow to have with the Herby bread I made tonight. It’ll have to have kidney beans as well as cannellini as I have a mixed tub leftover from the beany chilli I made last night, plus dried thyme instead of fresh. Hopefully it will still work!

  4. As a prospective University student, reading these recipes has been absolutely brilliant. Thank you so much for sharing, and needless to say I will be continuing to read the blog as often as possible!

  5. Made this for lunch it was fab added curly kale from the garden, im going to whizz up the left overs, freeze in icecube trays and use as a pizza base, result. Next time I might add some pearl barley a little goes along way . A great recipe no matter what time of the year, I feel I’ll be making this alot.

  6. Made this today for my lunch and loved it. I am counting calories and your soup when (tweaked with extra water to make 6 portions) comes in at under 116 cals per portion with 56 % of your fruit /veg intake for the day covered. Fantastic and very filling. Loving all of your recipies and my small children are loving the sunshine bread, only down side is it doesnt last very long in my house!!

  7. I made this for dinner yesterday. YUM! I didn’t pulse it as I love a soup with lots of chunky bits. Nothing left to freeze, I’m afraid. Thanks Jack xxx

  8. Use value baked beans with the sauce rinsed off – they’re just haricot under all that sludge and much cheaper. Also a couple of tablespoons of red lentils thickens it up nicely.

  9. Tried it and it’s delicious! The kids loved it as well, but with half the quantity of the haricots…. Thank you so much!

  10. Lived in Ethiopia for 13 years and had to adapt all of my recipes to fit the ingredients I could get..and make precious imported food such as cheese and bacon stretch as far as possible. I have followed your blog with the wider issue of scarcity of food around the world in my mind not just within the UK. We all need to make more with less. It’ s a worldwide justice issue. Thanks for all you do to encourage stewardship of resources. I find it inspirational.

    • Lynn, Are you familiar with the More With Less cookbook? It was written by Mennonite missionary women who worked in countries like the ones you’re talking about. It’s all about using resources wisely in our kitchens. There are many reasons for doing so, from the personal to the global.

      I love what Jack is doing here. Her work stands at the intersection of so many concerns and disciplines. I’m so impressed. It also shows what happens when a person focuses on an activity or art form over time with a committment to improvement. It takes you to places you never dreamed exist sometimes.

      I make this sort of soup all the time using cannolini beans. It’s pretty cheap that way. But I don’t always have them on hand and I do have tins of baked beans in my larder all the time. I never in a million years would have thought to just drain the wee buggers.

  11. if you really need filling up I add half a cup of rice. You’ll need a drop of extra water.

    • Yes, I do this, Stephen. Or some whole wheat pasta to bulk it up a bit or stretch it out. It’s a good way to use up those wee bits and bobs that accumulate in the back of my cupboard.

  12. “Sainsburys are major donors to the Conservative Party and I can no longer in good conscience promote them on my website. I will be pricing my recipes at other supermarkets from now on.”
    Good on you. Thank you.

    If I have one handy I toss the rind of Parmesan cheese into tomatoey soups like this. Gives the soup a nice depth of flavour. I hoard the rinds for this purpose.

  13. Simple and hearty. But to save even more (and not waste anything) buy a bag of dried beans. Very cheap! Dried beans are available at most grocery outlets or food banks. Also try this recipe with lentils of all sorts. High protein and fiber!

  14. The weather down here in Southern Spain is unseasonably wet and cool, so we’ve been seeking comfort food. This soup is exactly that, and it’s simple and easy to prepare. I’ve been making half the quantity for the two of us, and using a large, peeled and chopped fresh tomato rather than tinned, and white beans from a jar we buy in Murky Donna’s. Lovely! Thank you so much!

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