Nothing says comfort food in chilly weather like a filling bowl of vegan soup!
Brr! Are you guys getting some blustery fall weather? Here in Atlanta, it’s been a brisk couple of weeks. We even had our first frost warning of the season, though I’m not sure there was actually a frost that night. All of these cold evenings have me craving hearty soups.
Related Reading: 5 Vegan Comfort Food Recipes
When you think of hearty soup recipes, you might picture dishes full of butter, cream, or chunks of meat, but you can whip up a soup that’s filling and satisfying with plant-based ingredients, too! A lot of folks overdo it on the heavy foods in the fall, so even if you’re not trying to cut back on the animal products in your life, these recipes can help you satisfy that comfort food urge while keeping things a little bit healthier.
Of course, vegan food isn’t always healthier, but for this collection of recipes, let’s focus on soups that are not just filling but good for you, too! Ready to get cooking?
1. Carrot Sweet Potato Soup
I know, when you think “comfort food,” carrot soup probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but this pureed soup is rich and flavorful. The first time I tasted it, I actually made an involuntary yummy sound. This recipe makes 4-6 servings. Four if you’re treating the soup as the main event and six if it’s a side or appetizer.
- 1 1/2 cups sweet potato, chopped into 1″ pieces
- 1 1/2 cups carrot, chopped into 1″ pieces
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup scallions
- soy yogurt, optional
- cashews, optional
In a soup pot, bring all of the ingredients except the yogurt and cashews to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until the veggies are tender. This should take about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, then either use your immersion blender or a regular blender to puree the soup. Put the pureed soup back on the heat just long enough to warm it up again.
Serve on its own or topped with the yogurt and/or cashews.
2. Green Lentil Soup with Chard and Lemon
Earthy chard and lentils pair up deliciously with this soup’s bright, lemony flavor, and the potatoes make it a stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish. This soup serves 2-4 people.
- 2 pounds of tiny potatoes or regular potatoes cut into 2″ pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon smoked salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cups red onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup arugula, chopped
- 1 bunch Swiss chard leaves, cut into ribbons
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 425F, and toss the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a baking pan. Roast for 40 minutes to an hour, until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork, stirring every 15 minutes so they cook evenly.
Meanwhile, bring the water and broth to a boil in a large soup pot, then add the lentils and simmer for 25 minutes, or until they’re just tender.
While the lentils cook, toss the garlic and onion into your blender or food processor, and blend until the garlic looks minced. The onion will turn pretty liquidy, which is just what you want. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet and cook the garlic, onion, and arugula on medium high for a few minutes, until the arugula starts to wilt. Add the chard and cook for about 5 minutes more, until it turns bright green and wilts.
When the lentils are ready, add the chard mixture to the soup pot, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice and potatoes just before serving.
Up Next: Butternut Squash Soup with Pan Fried Kale
3. Butternut Squash Soup with Pan Fried Kale
Yum! Winter squash and leafy greens are the perfect balance of bitter and sweet. If you’re not into nutritional yeast, just reduce the broth by 1/2 cup, since the nooch helps thicken the broth. Serves 4-6.
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups of butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
- 3 cups good vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 packed cups of kale, stems removed, and chopped
- salt and black pepper, to taste
In a soup pot, heat up half of the olive oil, and saute the garlic and onion until the onion turns translucent. Add the squash, the broth, the nutritional yeast, and the thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the squash is fork-tender. When this is done cooking, use an immersion blender or a regular blender to puree.
Meanwhile, heat up the rest of the oil in the pan and cook up the kale until it turns bright green and begins to wilt.
Put the squash soup back on the heat, add the kale and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat for a few more minutes, just until everything is heated through.
Up Next: Tofu and Lemongrass Soup
4. Tofu and Lemongrass Soup
This deeply-seasoned soup is full of tasty Thai flavors! The brown sugar is optional, but it’s meant to replace Mirin, a sweet wine that’s sometimes tricky to find. You can always leave it out and add some sugar at the end, if you change your mind. Serves 4.
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 a red onion, chopped
- 3 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2″ long pieces and scored with a knife
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 2 cups kale, chopped
- 1 block extra firm tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Heat the oil in a soup pot on medium high, and saute the bell pepper, onion, lemongrass, ginger, kale, and tofu. Cook, stirring, until the kale begins to wilt, which should take about five minutes.
Add the broth, soy sauce, Sriracha, and sugar to the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and stir in the lemon juice. Serve topped with fresh cilantro.
Up Next: Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup
5. Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup
This is a comfort food recipe from my childhood and something my pops and I like to cook up when he comes to Atlanta to visit. Serves 8-10
- half a medium-sized head of cabbage, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 28 oz cans of tomatoes
- fresh lemon juice, to taste – start with 1 lemon, but you may need a bit more
- brown sugar, to taste – you can leave this out, but it helps bring out the sweetness in the raisins and the cabbage. Your choice!
- 1 cup each white and dark raisins
- 2 large potatoes, cut into 2″ pieces
- black or white pepper, to taste
Put the cabbage and onions into the pot with enough water to just cover. Bring that to a boil.
Add the tomatoes, and bring it back to a boil. Add the lemon juice and taste the broth. You’re going for a sweet and sour flavor, so add your brown sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until you get a nice balance of sweet and sour. 1/4 cup usually works well, but it’s really a matter of personal taste. If you accidentally go too sweet, just compensate with more lemon. It’s better to go a little bit sour, because the raisins will make this sweeter when you add them in.
Once your broth is seasoned, add the raisins, and simmer for about an hour and a half, covered, then add the potatoes.
Simmer for another half hour, and taste the soup again. Add the pepper, and let it cook on low for another half hour before serving.
Do you have a favorite vegan soup recipe that you cook up in cold weather? Share your recipes in the comments!
Photos by Becky Striepe