“Sewp szn!!” my editor recently declared over email. She’s right: As the leaves turn pumpkin orange, steamy bowls of goodness call to me. Soup is not only a satisfying cold weather slurp, it’s also typically pretty affordable—made from staples like vegetables, alliums, beans, and broth. In this economy, when every headline spells doom for my savings account, soup is what they call a win-win. None more so than this Chickpea and Celery Soup With Chile-Garlic Oil.
It’s brothy and chunky, refreshing and hearty, and, thanks to a last minute dump of lemony herbs, hoodwinks you into thinking it might actually be spring when, in fact, it’s almost Thanksgiving. In under 30 minutes, boring celery (I’m sorry) and canned chickpeas become a bright spot on a brisk day. A dollop of yogurt adds creaminess and a drizzle of chile- and garlic-infused olive oil brings a spicy savoriness. As we sled into winter, this soup is a soft landing: warm, comforting, and just a couple bucks per serving.
Celery and chickpeas are the hardy, economic backbone of this recipe. Still, I swapped 2 store-brand bouillon cubes and 4 cups water in for the pre-made stock—a move that saved almost a dollar per serve and tasted no different. To transform two servings into three, I cooked 6 oz. ditalini and threw it in the soup before dishing up. This made the recipe cheaper per serving but also: Everything’s better with pasta.
These prices—which exclude salt, a staple in most homes—are calculated based on a grocery run to my local Stop & Shop. Your receipt might look a little bit different depending on which brands you buy and any sales your local store might be running. The principle is the same: It’s a delightful fall soup that goes hard on flavor but easy on your wallet.
You’re going to need to invest in some olive oil, if you don’t already have a bottle. But you’ll have lots of celery leftover at the end, and some ditalini (if you choose to include it). Use both to make your next cozy soup: a classic chicken noodle. Here’s the breakdown:
- $0.89 worth of olive oil (6 Tbsp. from a 34-oz. bottle costing $11.29)
- 10 cents for 1 red chile
- 25 cents worth of garlic (3 cloves from a head costing $1)
- 52 cents for 1 medium onion
- 40 cents worth of celery (2 stalks and leaves from a bunch costing $1.99)
- 16 cents worth of bouillon cubes (2 cubes from a 25-cube jar costing $1.99)
- $1.09 for 1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas
- 56 cents worth of yogurt (½ cup from a 32-oz. tub costing $4.50)
- 50 cents worth of cilantro (½ a bunch costing $1)
- 60 cents for 1 lemon
- 93 cents worth of ditalini (6 oz. from a 1-lb. box costing $2.49)
Total cost for three servings: $6.00
Price per serving: $2.00