Kitchn Love Letters

My Favorite Pantry Staple Makes Soup Season So Easy

published Oct 27, 2022
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overhead view of a bowl of soup with chicken and chickpeas
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

I love cooking — listening to a podcast while making dinner is my favorite way to wind down after a long day. But for some reason, making lunch is a total pain.

As a freelance journalist, my days are jam-packed with deadlines, interviews, and admin work, so I need to keep my lunches as quick, easy, and flavorful as possible. While I used to order lunch al desko at my former co-working space, working from home has left me up to my own dining devices. That usually means takeout, a pre-packaged salad, or assembling a wimpy sandwich — none of which excite me or my tastebuds.

I thought I was going to be destined to sad salads until my future mother-in-law introduced me to Frontier Soups two years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. They’re little bags of dried beans, grains, and veggies, but don’t let looks fool you: These soup mixes are an easy and (virtually) effortless way to get the taste of a home-cooked meal.

Instead of slicing and dicing every last ingredient, you just pour the dry mixture into the broth of your choice for a hearty soup. You can use water, but I think broth really helps amp up the flavor (and yes, store-bought is fine!). Depending on the recipe, I sometimes bulk up my soup with chopped onions or shredded chicken I made with my Instant Pot.

Frontier Soups are currently available in two sizes (4.25 ounces and 7 ounces), so you’re bound to have leftovers for the next day. That’s right — maximum servings for minimal effort!

Cooking times range between 30 and 40 minutes, but most of that is letting the ingredients simmer in the broth so I usually set a timer and do other chores or go back to work. If I was making something “simple” like loaded avocado toast or a roasted veggie wrap, I’d spend about the same amount of time actively prepping and cooking — but with Frontier Soups I can walk away.

While an easy and convenient meal can be a game-changer, it’s a non-starter if they don’t taste good. Although I was admittedly skeptical about these pre-packaged soup mixes — what can I say? I was always a canned soup kinda girl — after eating them for two years, I can say they’re downright delicious. Colorado Campfire Chicken Stew, Arizona Enchilada, and Virginia Blue Ridge Broccoli and Cheddar are a few of my favorites, but you really can’t go wrong here. For a hearty soup that feels like the equivalent to wrapping yourself in your coziest sweater, give the Wyoming Fireside Beef Goulash a try. The Chicago Bistro French Onion mix is great for vegetarians — don’t forget to add croutons and some Gruyère cheese on top! And if you’re looking for a classic, Connecticut Cottage Chicken Noodle has you covered.

Because these soups are considered non-perishables, I buy them in bulk so I’ll always have them on hand when the craving strikes, which happens often. They’re currently available on Amazon in single and variety packs, which means I can easily add them to my Prime order.

If you’re looking for a way to simplify lunchtime, curb your cooking fatigue, and embrace soup season, Frontier Soups deserves some major real estate in your pantry.

What’s your go-to for a quick lunch? Tell us in the comments below!