Warming Soups for Cool Weather

The autumn harvest brings the perfect ingredients for making delicious, creamy soups, and with the cooler weather coming on, knowing how to make a delicious soup can be an invaluable way of keeping warm from the inside.

As with salad dressings, using a blender really expands your options, especially when it comes to making soups with a creamy consistency. Blending some steamed squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and/or white potatoes can provide the basic foundation for a huge variety of delicious soups, the extent of which is only limited by your selection of other veggies and seasonings.

I like to add a little cashew butter (or tahini) to my blender mixture, along with sautéed garlic and onion and/or powdered garlic and onion, tamari/herb salt, and one of my favorite seasonings, nutritional yeast. (The following recipes call for cashew butter, because it adds a delicious creaminess without changing the flavor too much. But if you don’t have cashew butter, you can try replacing it with tahini. Tahini is cheaper, but it does have a slightly bitter flavor, so if you’re using it as a substitute for cashew butter, I would recommend using a little less than the recipe calls for.)

Once I have a basic flavor that I like, I simply blend the mixture until it’s smooth and creamy (the nut butter really adds to the creaminess), and then pour it into a pot containing veggies such as garlic, onion, potatoes, carrots, zucchini and mushrooms, sautéed in the order listed.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have too many tomatoes, you can do something very similar with those. Simply cook up all your soft tomatoes, and throw them in a blender along with a little tahini, herb salt and nutritional yeast, and you’ll find that it’s a delicious base for a creamy tomato soup that can be poured over cooked onions, zucchini, mushrooms and even cooked sweet corn if you like it that way. (Try stirring in a little grated vegan cheese… Yum!)

But for those who are more comfortable with specific recipes than general tips and techniques, the following pages contain a variety of options. And keep your eyes open for the other two parts to this series, for a collection of warming soups to see you all the way through winter.

Enjoy… And stay warm!

Autumn Harvest Soup
serves 5-6

1 Tbsp. oil (optional)
1 large onion
1-2 cloves garlic
3 carrots (2 sliced, 1 grated)
1 large sweet potato, cubed
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 butternut (or sweet squash), cubed
1 tsp. sea salt
6-7 cups vegetable stock or water
2-3 Tbsp. tamari
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. herb salt such as Herbamare
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper

1. Dice onion and garlic and sauté in oil or water. Add sliced carrots, potatoes, squash, and sea salt to pot with enough stock (or water) to cover vegetables by an inch. Let simmer on low heat until vegetables are soft.
2. Remove 1/3 of the cooked vegetables with a strainer and blend with remaining stock (or water) until creamy. (Use less liquid for a thicker soup).
3.  Add the remaining seasonings and blend again. Return mixture to soup pot and simmer for 10 more minutes. Season to taste.

Delicious served immediately and even better when reheated the next day.

Mushroom Barley Soup
serves 5–6

3/4–1 cup barley
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small onions, diced
4 cups mushrooms, sliced
4 Tbsp. tamari
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
5 Tbsp. cashew butter
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sea salt, to taste

1. Cook the barley in a big soup pot (one cup dry barley to three to four cups water). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until barley is completely cooked.
(This will make a hearty soup. For a thinner soup, use only 3/4 of a cup of barley.)
2. Remove barley from the pot. In the same pot, sauté garlic, onions, then mushrooms.
3. In a blender, blend 1 1/2–2 cups water with tamari, yeast, cashew butter and seasonings. Pour this into the soup pot.
4. Cover the blades of the blender with some cooked barley. Add water to cover the barley and blend to a creamy consistency. Add 1–2 more cups of water to the blender and blend. Pour this into the soup pot.
5. Add the remaining cooked barley to the soup pot. Simmer for 25–30 minutes. (If soup sits for a while, the barley will absorb some of the liquid and thicken the soup. To remedy this, add more liquid and seasonings.)

Light Lentil Soup
serves 5–6

(see next page for a heartier version)

1 Tbsp. oil (optional)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 cups carrots, sliced
2–3 potatoes, cubed
2 cups dry lentils (rinsed & soaked)
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
tamari, to taste
water, as directed below

Blender Ingredients
2 cups water
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1 tsp. herb salt such as Herbamare
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 Tbsp. tamari
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. sea salt

1. In a soup pot, in oil or water, sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add celery, carrots and potatoes and stir. Add the lentils along with the yeast and tamari, with enough water to cover the lentils by two inches. Cover and simmer. Add more water as necessary as the lentils cook.
2. When lentils are soft, remove 3/4 cup of lentils with some vegetables and blend with the Blender Ingredients. Pour into soup pot. Add enough water for desired consistency. Simmer until the flavors blend, approximately 20–30 minutes.

Hearty Lentil Soup
serves 5–6

(see previous page for a lighter version)

2 cups dry lentils
1 Tbsp. oil or water
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cups carrots, sliced
1 eggplant, diced (optional)
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. tamari
2 cups water
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dill weed
3/4 cup lentils, cooked
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 Tbsp. tamari
1 Tbsp. vegetable bouillon
1/4 cup of the cooked carrots (see below)
1/4 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. herb salt such as Herbamare
1 cup zucchini, diced

1. Cook the lentils in a separate pot (see Cooking Guide for Beans).
2. In a soup pot, sauté the onion and garlic in oil or water, then add celery and carrots. Allow the carrots to soften then add the eggplant. Add the yeast and tamari with a little water, and cover. Cook until carrots are completely soft.
3. In a blender, blend half of the remaining ingredients except the zucchini and herb salt. Pour into the soup pot. Repeat the blender process another time.
4. Add 2–4 cups of additional water, then add the zucchini.
5. Add 2–4 cups, or the desired amount of the remaining whole cooked lentils to the pot. Add herb salt to taste. Simmer until the zucchini is soft.

Creamy Potato Soup
serves 6–8

3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. water
2 large onions, diced
6 cups potatoes, cubed
2 cups carrots, sliced
6 cups water
2 Tbsp. cashew butter
1 Tbsp. herb salt such as Herbamare
2 Tbsp. tamari
1/2 Tbsp. sea salt
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup fresh dill weed, chopped

1. In a blender, blend garlic with oil and water. Pour into a soup pot.
2. Sauté the onions in this garlic oil. When the onions are partially cooked, add the potatoes then the carrots. Add two cups of water and cover. Cook until the vegetables are soft, stirring frequently.
3. In a blender, blend two cups of water, cashew butter, herb seasoning, tamari and one cup of cooked potatoes from the pot. Blend well. Pour back into the soup pot.
4. In a blender again, blend one cup of the cooked potatoes and two cups of water. Pour back into the pot. Add sea salt to taste, dill weed, pepper and fresh dill. Simmer for 15–30 minutes. Serve.

Gentle World is a non-profit educational organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. Incredibly Delicious: Recipes for a New Paradigm contains many more tips to make the transition to veganism easy and delicious! Visit www.GentleWorld.org for more information.

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Audrey G.
Audrey Green3 years ago

typo> Love the creamy soup recipes.

Audrey G.
Audrey Green3 years ago

Great ideas. Soothing on the digestion too. Love there creamy Soups.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Diane S.
Diane S.4 years ago

The creamy potato soup sounds delicious ! I will definitely try it !

Eva Orta
Eva O.4 years ago

Great article with a lot of yummy looking recipes, thank you very much for sharing!

Robert Shaffer
Robert Shaffer4 years ago


Christine Impens
Christine Impens4 years ago

The basic foundation seems a very good idea, I'll try it this week. Some ingredients are not available in my country (Belgium) but I'll use my creativity to find similar vegetables.

Roberta S.
Roberta Shorts5 years ago

Very nice! Can't wait to try the light lentil soup!

Sylvia W.
Sylvia W.5 years ago

Ina Mohan wrote;
"In India they have his fabulous hot spicy soup called "rasam". It can be eaten as appetizer, main dish with rice, side dish, and as flu remedy, as no virus survives this tasty combination of healthy spices and herbs in rasam very long. Here is the recipe:

Ooh this recipe sounds yummy! Thanks! I had to do a search, but I found a simple recipe for the rasam powder called for so it is readily doable;

3/4 cup coriander seeds (dhania)
1/2 cup cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 cup red gram lentils (tuar dal)
1/4 cup peppercorns
6 red chillies

Annemarie W.
Annemarie L.5 years ago