Hamburger Soup with Freezer Vegetables

Hamburger Soup

Hey local pumpkin eaters,

Recently, I found myself hunkered down in my house with sick kids and in need of a nourishing dinner to heal my family. In my fridge and pantry, I found very little. But thank God for freezers!

Two (of the many) reasons why my little family of four gets the Local Pumpkin Family Box weekly and grows a large garden:

  1. Yes, we really eat that much produce. We feel better when we eat a real food diet with limited grains and dairy. So, vegetables are a big part of our diet.
  2. I’ve learned that a ton of produce can be thrown into my freezer. For example: I saw some kale in the Local Pumpkin store and got excited about kale chips but forgot to make them – freeze it. I got caught up in picking berries at Bill’s Berry Farm and now have more than I can possibly eat/ jam/ bake with/ put out as an appetizer and dessert when friends come over – freeze it. Grew ONE zucchini plant in my garden and now it’s coming out my eye balls – freeze it. In times of want, I’m always glad I took the couple minutes to prep it and throw it in my freezer.

Here’s a little part of my freezer – local and homegrown goodness:

food storage

Anyway, back to my predicament. Looking at some freshly jarred bone broth on my counter, what I really wanted to make for my family was Pioneer Woman’s Hamburger Soup. I didn’t have potatoes or fresh bell peppers as the recipe calls for. So, I decided to channel my mother who is famous for never exactly following a recipe.

I pulled out carrots, onion, and garlic from my Local Pumpkin box that week and celery and zucchini from a few boxes ago. Then I turned to my freezer. Last spring there were a few Local Pumpkin boxes with Swiss chard. At the time I wasn’t sure how to use it. I decided to chop it, freeze it and put it in smoothies later. Buuuuut it’s still in my freezer. So I pulled it out for the soup. (I’ll be honest, the previously frozen chard in the soup was an experiment. I’m glad to report: yes, it is doable and tasty.)

Next, I pulled out a rainbow of bell peppers, also from local farmers this past summer. I turned to my pantry for my last jar of home canned tomatoes (and made a mental note to do more jars next year) then created: Almost Pioneer Woman’s Hamburger and all-the-veggies-you-have-that-might-be-good-in-soup Soup. It’s was delicious, satisfying, nourishing, and I felt really proud of my successful ingenuity.

Hamburger Soup

Here’s Pioneer Woman’s original recipe. And here’s the way I made it on this particular day:

Hamburger Soup


1 ½ lb. grass-fed ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried parsley
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 pint size jar of diced tomatoes (or a 15 oz. can)
3 c. beef bone broth (bone broth is what makes this soup extra healing!)
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 carrots, sliced
3 bell peppers, fresh or frozen, diced (I cut mine into strips before freezing so they are easy to pull out frozen and dice)
3 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 bunch swiss chard, fresh or frozen, sliced thin (My frozen chard was cut into thicker strips so I chopped it up into small squares before adding it to the soup.)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1.       In a stockpot over medium heat, brown the meat with the onion and celery.

2.       Once the meat is cooked and the onions are translucent, add in garlic, parsley, and oregano. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3.       Add tomatoes, broth, and paste to the pot. Bring to a boil.

4.       Reduce heat to simmer and add in carrots and peppers. (If adding in frozen peppers, you may not want to turn the heat down.) Allow peppers and carrots to cook while you cut zucchini then add that in. Prep chard then add it in at the end.

5.       Salt and pepper to taste. Soup is done when veggies are tender. Enjoy and don’t forget to drink your broth!

Local Pumpkin Produce Box is a local, family-owned business that delivers weekly produce boxes to the Tri-Cities, Washington area, including fruit boxes to local businesses. 

Local Pumpkin Produce Box provides a connection between the local farmers and your table, enabling you to eat healthier, support local and not even have to leave your house. If you are interested in more information or would like to sign up for your own box, click here.

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