On freezing winter days, nothing warms you up more than a hot, hardy bowl of soup. Add to that a variety of ingredients that boost your immune system, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect cold-weather meal. While we don’t have the severe winter weather that much of the country has, we do have chilly winter nights here in California. On those nights, I love to come home and prepare a delicious soup. Here are six of my favorite soup recipes that I hope you will enjoy.
This Balkan-inspired recipe has clean, bright flavors that go well together. Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. It’s also part of the cabbage family, so it has cancer-fighting compounds. If you can’t find caraway powder, grind caraway seeds in a mortar and pestle, an electric spice grinder, or even a coffee grinder. For a milder version of this soup, omit the caraway and marjoram and season with sea salt and ground pepper.
1 peeled and cubed Idaho potato or 2 rose potatoes
½ tsp. kosher salt dissolved in 4 cups water
½ tsp. caraway powder
1 tsp. chopped garlic
¼ tsp. dried marjoram
2 Tbs. cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
2 cups chopped kale, stems removed
1. Place the potatoes, salted water, caraway powder, garlic, and marjoram in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Boil until potatoes are soft, about 15-20 minutes, skimming foam occasionally.
2. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook until the soup thickens slightly, about 1 minute.
3. Add the kale and cook until the leaves are softened, about 5-10 minutes. If you like your kale a bit crunchy, cook it for only a few minutes. If you like it softer, cook it longer.
Serves 10-12 (1 ½ cups)
This simple pea soup takes minutes to prepare and offers a rich creaminess and savory flavor everyone will love. Onion and cardamom add depth to the classic pea soup
while ginger offers a subtle and unexpected spiciness. You can easily whip up this 6-ingredient soup with a basic blender or food processor making a perfect lunch, dinner or leftovers.
1 Tbs. butter or Earth Balance non-dairy butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground cardamom
4 cups vegetable broth
32 ounces frozen green peas
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. sea salt (adjust as needed to taste)
Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat and melt butter or butter substitute. Add onion and ginger and sauté until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in cardamom and let cook for one additional minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add peas and simmer, uncovered, until very tender, about 10 minutes. In batches, purée soup using immersion blender, food processor, or blender until completely smooth (about one minute per batch). For safety with hot liquids, fill blender no more than half full. Return soup to pan and season with salt and pepper, adding more to taste if needed.
In Africa and Asia, where moringa plants grow in abundance, people add the tiny leaves to soups and stews just before serving. The leaves are wilted by the hot liquid but are not fully cooked, so their vitamins stay intact. I also like the flavor of moringa combined with squash, eggplant, and okra (another African ingredient). For this soup, any smoked fish, such as salmon, can be used. To make this soup vegan, use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock and omit the fish or fish sauce. To give this soup an Asian flair, add 1 tablespoon of ginger root, cut into strips.
2 cups diced kabocha squash or pumpkin, seeds removed and rind on
1 quart chicken stock
¾ cup diced eggplant
9 pieces okra, cut in halves or thirds
¾ cup cut string beans
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
½ cup diced onion
¾ cup diced medium tomato
¼ lb. flaked smoked fish or 1 Tbs. fish sauce
½ cup fresh moringa leaves or 1 Tbs. moringa powder dissolved in 3-4 Tbs. warm water
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, boil the squash or pumpkin in the chicken stock for 10 minutes.
2. Add the eggplant, okra, and string beans, and boil the vegetables until they are tender, about 7–10 minutes.
3. While the soup is cooking, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and stir-fry until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the tomato to the sauté pan and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Add the flaked fish or fish sauce and cook an additional 5 minutes.
5. Remove soup from heat and stir in the sauté mixture. Add the moringa leaves or powder. Season with the salt and pepper.
Lentil soup is a nutritional powerhouse! When combined with other vegetables and spices, lentils will leave you feeling full longer than other types of soups. Part of the legume (bean) family, lentils contain high levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber, making them a satiating and low calorie choice, helpful for weight management. Soluble fiber absorbs water and creates a gel consistency that is known for binding cholesterol-containing bile and escorting it out of the body. Insoluble fiber consists of plant-compounds that the body cannot digest, helping contribute to healthy bowels. Together, this high fiber content can lower cholesterol levels and stabilize blood sugars during digestion. Lentil soup is simple to make and is perfect for leftovers; enjoy this warming dish in the cool winter weather.
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion diced
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 dry bay leaf
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. crushed red chili flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup dry lentils (French or brown), rinsed well and drained
1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and chopped
1 15-ounce canned tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Hot sauce as needed
1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and parsnips and cook, stirring often, for 8-to-10 minutes until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent.
2. Add bay leaf, oregano, cumin, chili flakes and garlic to the pot and cook for another minute. Add wine and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
3. Add rinsed lentils to the pot along with potato, tomatoes and stock.
4. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and allow the soup to simmer uncovered for 20-to-25 minutes. Add water, as necessary, ½ cup at a time if
needed but a thicker consistency is best.
5. Near the end of the cooking time, add spinach to the pot and stir in. Cover soup for the remaining 1-3 minutes.
6. Taste for seasoning and add in salt and cracked black pepper, to taste. Garnish with hot sauce of your choice if desired.
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, there’s no reason to limit yourself to fresh items only. Especially when your refrigerator is nearly empty, you cannot underestimate the potential of pantry staples like canned tomato and coconut milk. Combined with some carrots and a little dried curry powder, they easily transform into a flavorful soup that’s ready to be enjoyed in well under an hour. Try it on its own or with Vegetable Crackers from The Age Beautifully Cookbook.
2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
½ cup diced red onion
2 carrots (about ⅔ cup), peeled and chopped
1 (13.66 ounce) can coconut milk (full fat)
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes with basil
1 Tbs. curry powder
Salt and black pepper
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until carrots just begin to tenderize. Stir in coconut milk, tomatoes, curry powder, and salt and pepper, bring to a low boil, and then simmer for about 10 minutes, or until flavors have adequately melded. Transfer to bowls and top with freshly cracked black pepper if desired before serving.
Yields 8 Cups
Mushroom soup is a fall and winter favorite but now you can make a light, healthy version low in calories and fat yet packed with flavor and nutrients. Whole food ingredients like mushrooms, onion and garlic make the base for this simple soup you can make in minutes. Vegetable broth and the secret ingredient, rolled oats, blend together to create a creamy smooth, savory soup. Every ingredient in this recipe lends itself to health; mushrooms in particular are packed with immune boosting compounds called beta-glucans and are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Excellent for freezing or leftovers, be sure to whip up a batch of savory vegan mushroom soup for your lunch or dinner this week!
1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 pound white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart vegetable broth
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or steel-cut)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons mellow white miso
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Coat the bottom of soup pot with grapeseed oil and place over medium-high heat. Sauté mushrooms, onion and garlic 3-4 minutes or until they soften. Cover; reduce heat to low and cook 4-5 minutes until tender and mushrooms release liquid. Add vegetable stock and oats. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Transfer soup to a large blender or use an immersion blender in the soup pot. Puree all ingredients, adding salt and pepper, tasting to test flavor. Add miso when soup is no longer boiling hot as boiling can destroy the probiotics in the miso. Return mixture to pot and simmer over low heat 3 minutes. Ladle into bowls; garnish with parsley and serve hot.