By Anna Brones, EcoSalon
The gray of winter calls for warm and hearty soups, but what about ones that aren’t made with animal stock? We’ve rounded up some of the best vegetarian soup recipes on the web, full of delicious flavors and packed with great ingredients that are good for your body. They’re sure to warm up your kitchen with wonderful aromas and keep you feeling healthy and full of energy. If you’re feeling extra creative, we even added in some tips on concocting your own veggie soup recipes at the bottom. Bon appetit!
1. Black Bean Soup with Quinoa
2 cups black beans, soaked overnight
2 quarts vegetable broth
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onion
3 tsp minced garlic
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 tsp chopped cilantro
4 tsp sour cream
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground new mexico chili pepper (if available)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1. Prepare basic quinoa.
2. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add the soaked beans, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until tender. Check water level and add more if necessary. (About 1 hour)
3. Strain the beans and reserve 2 cups of the water.
4. In the same pot, with beans removed, sauté onion, garlic, celery, and carrots in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the spice blend and sauté for 1 minute.
5. Pour the reserved cooking water, chicken broth, and tomatoes into the pot. Add the beans and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat.
6. Using a hand held blender, puree the soup in the pan until mostly liquid allowing some texture to remain.
7. Serve soup in a bowl over a scoop of quinoa or brown rice. Garnish with 1/2 tsp of cilantro and 1 tsp sour cream.
2. Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
¼ cup olive oil
1 2-lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
2 flavorful apples, preferably Gala, peeled, cored, and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
¾ tsp curry powder
¾ tsp ground mace
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 cup good-quality apple cider
1 quart vegetable stock
½ tsp salt
¼ freshly ground pepper, preferably white
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the squash, apples, and onion, and stir to coat with oil.
Sauté uncovered, stirring occasionally, for ten to fifteen minutes, or until onion is transparent.
Stir in the mace, curry, and cardamom, and continue cooking until the onion begins to brown.
Add the cider. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook for three minutes. Add the stock, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer the mixture, partially covered, for another 35 minutes, or until squash is tender.
Working in batches, blend mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth (be careful to not overfill, as hot liquid could expand when machine is switched on, making a huge, burning-hot mess). Return soup to the stockpot. Reduce the soup, uncovered, over medium-low heat, to about one-fourth. Stir occasionally. Stir in salt and pepper, and serve hot.
3. Celeriac and Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger
For a taste of French flair there’s no better blog than Chocolate and Zucchini. Although the blog isn’t entirely vegetarian it does have some great recipes, like this easy and zesty one that’s sure to spice up a dreary afternoon.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
One small head celeriac, about 2 pounds, peeled, quartered and sliced
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
a knob of ginger, about the size of your thumb (that’s 2 inches), peeled, and grated or thinly minced
1/3 cup milk
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or cocotte. Add in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly, until fragrant. Add in the vegetables, season with salt and a generous amount of pepper, and cook for ten minutes, until they start to get golden. Pour in hot water (or stock) to just cover the vegetables, add in the grated ginger, stir, and bring to a simmer.
Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 35 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through and very soft, stirring from time to time to make sure the vegetables don’t stick to the bottom. Stir in the milk (and a bit more water if the mixture is too thick), puree the soup to the desired smoothness (I like it chunky), and serve immediately, optionally topped with a fresh grind of pepper.
4.Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
101 Cookbooks is the go-to blog for a lot of foodies, and the soup sectionis huge. I’m a personal fan of the Vegetarian Tortilla Soup; spicy, full-bodied and packed full of flavor. Note: seasoning is very important in this soup, and if it’s not correctly seasoned with salt it will taste flat.
6-8 corn tortillas, cut in half and then into matchstick-thin strips
a big splash of extra virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
20 small yellow or red cherry tomatoes
another splash of extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne or other spicy red chili powder
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth (or water)
a few sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup of goat cheese, crumbled
Gently toss the tortilla strips with a glug of olive oil and salt. Turn them out onto a baking sheet, arrange them across the pan and bake in a 350F degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Set aside.
Halve (or quarter) the tomatoes lengthwise and put them in a small roasting pan, oven proof dish, or rimmed baking sheet. Toss with a bit of olive oil and a pinch or two of salt. Bake in a 350F degree oven for 40-45 minutes (less time if you use smaller cherry tomatoes), or until the tomatoes are shrunken and golden around the edges. The tomatoes keep nicely in a jar for days (refrigerated), so you can do this part in advance if you like. Set aside.
In a big pot over medium-high heat cook the garlic and onions in a splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt for just a minute or so. Stir in the spices and then the tomatoes. Cook down for about five minutes or so, it should thicken a bit. Remove from heat, add one cup of the broth and puree with a hand blender (or puree in a traditional blender). Add the remaining 5 cups of broth and puree until smooth. Bring the soup back up to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
Serve the individual bowls topped with plenty of tortilla strips, the roasted and sun-dried tomatoes, and some crumbled goat cheese. Alternately, as I mention up above, you can finish with sliced avocado, cilantro, white onions, and a squeeze of lime. If you like a creamier soup base add a splash of half and half, or stir in some extra goat cheese.
5. Creamy Carrot Soup with Coconut
The coconut milk gives this quick and easy vegan soup a creamy consistency as well as an exotic taste.
2-3 large carrots, chopped small
1 onion, chopped small
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 14 ounce can coconut milk
sea salt, to taste
Simmer the carrots, onions, ginger and curry powder in vegetable broth for 20-25 minutes, until carrots are soft.
Allow to cool slightly, and then puree in blender, working in batches if needed.
Return to heat and stir in coconut milk until well combined.
Season generously with sea salt, to taste.
Serve hot, or, chill until cold and serve as a gourmet vegetarian and vegan appetizer soup. This carrot soup will thicken as it cools, so if serving this vegan carrot soup cold, you may want to add a bit extra liquid.
6. Thai Red Curry Soup
On the vegan train of thought, this is another exotic inspired soup from over at Show Me Vegan, sure to add some flavor to your dinner table. If you like you can switch out the setain for tofu.
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
6 ounces portobella caps, chopped
8 ounces seitan, chopped
2 Tablespoons vegan red curry paste
1 heaping cup peeled and diced russet potatoes
4 ounces green beans
3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon tamari
salt and pepper, to taste
heaping 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Sriracha sauce, optional condiment
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Saute bell pepper and mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Add seitan and red curry paste. Stir to distribute curry paste, about 2 minutes. Add potatoes and green beans and saute about 1 minute more. Add coconut milk, broth, and tamari. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are done. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in fresh basil before serving.
7. Lentil Soup with Chipotle Yogurt
Lentils are a vegetarian’s best friend, and the absolutely beautiful blog Sprouted Kitchen has this amazing recipe that combines the legume with other vegetarian favorites like kale and brown rice. Add a dollop of chipotle yogurt and you’ve got a killer combination!
2 Cups Lentils (French or Black Beluga)
1 Yellow Onion, Diced
1 Fennel Bulb, Diced
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Cup Brown Rice, Cooked (any whole grain will work)
6 Cups Organic, Low Sodium Vegetable Stock
1 tsp. Cumin
1 Large Bunch of Kale, Chard or Combo of Leafy Greens
1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Chipotle Chile in Adobo, Chopped (no more than 2 tsp.)
1. Cook your rice or desired grain and set aside. Boil about four cups water, and boil the lentils for 20 minutes until cooked. Add water as needed. Drain.
2. In a large soup pot, saute the yellow onion and the fennel in the olive oil for about 8 minutes, or until just starting to turn light brown. Add the stock and cumin. Bring the heat back up to a gentle boil, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the lentils and the brown rice and simmer about 10 minutes. While you are waiting, stem your greens and slice them into thin strips. Taste the soup for salt and pepper, add seasoning as desired.
4. Turn off the heat and add in the greens, stir. The greens will wilt in the hot soup, and avoid overcooking this way. Stir in the juice of half the lemon, add more to taste.
5. Mix the greek yogurt with the chipotle chile and stir. Serve the soup with the dollop of the chipotle yogurt. Warning, chipotles are pretty spicy, so start with a small amount of sauce and you can add if you like it hot. If too spicy, add more yogurt.
8. Soupe de Potimarron, au beurre noisette Ã la sauge – Chestnut pumpkin soup with sage brown butter
We couldn’t complete this list without a soup with a French name, and this one from Chez Pim is just perfect. The chestnut flavor of the Potimarron gives a surprisingly complex flavor, and just like with any other squash soup, the consistency is certainly smooth.
1 2-3 pounds Potimarron, or Kuri pumpkin, or, you get the picture
1/2 small onion, cut into cubes
3 cups of milk
3 tbsp of crÃ¨me fraÃ®che, (you can also use yogurt or sour cream)
1 tbsp butter, soft
salt and pepper to taste
For the garnish:
1 cup of croutons (trim and cut stale bread into small cubes and sauté with a little butter until brown)
4 tbsp butter
3 sage leafs
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Cut the Potimarron into quarters, scoop out the seeds, and rub 1/2 tablespoon of the butter all over the exposed surface. Bake the Potimarron quarters in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
While the Potimarron is baking, cook the cubed onion in a sauté pan with the rest of the butter and a pinch of salt over a very low heat. Let the onion cooked, while stirring every so often, until uniformly brown and caramelized but not burn, for about 20-25 mins.
When the Potimarron is cooked through, take them out of the oven and let cool for a little bit.
While the Potimarron is cooling down, make the sage brown butter. In the smallest pot you own, preferably a small butter warmer, cook the 4 tbsp butter with the sage leafs until completely melted over low heat. The butter will foam up as it cooks, when the foam subsides, let it continue to cook until you can see the bits of milk solids at the bottom of the pot turning brown. Take the pot off the heat immediately and let cool. If you’ve overcook the butter and the brown bits are getting a bit too brown, then strain the butter into a cool bowl immediately. If not, you can leave the butter and sage leafs to macerate in the warm pot until ready to use.
When the Potimarron quarters are cool enough to handle, scoop out the meat with a spoon. The cooked flesh should separate readily from the skin. You should have about 3-3.5 cups of cooked Potimarron.
Add the Potimarron flesh in a medium pot with the three cups of milk, the caramelized onion, a generous handful of salt, and a few turns of the pepper grinder. Let cook on low heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Turn the heat off, then blend the content of the pot into a smooth puree, either with a hand blender or in a stand blender.
If using a stand blender, pour the blended soup back into the pot and let cook gently over low heat. Add the three tablespoons of crÃ¨me fraÃ®che (or yogurt of sour cream). Keep stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot or it will burn. Add more salt if needed. When the soup comes back to a gentle boil, turn the heat off and serve.
Serve in a warm bowl with a small handful of croutons and a teaspoon -or two, or three, as you wish- of the sage brown butter.
9. Red Lentil and Saffron Soup
Red lentils paired with the distinct flavor of saffron make this a hearty soup with an exotic flair; plus the saffron flower used is much more inexpensive than saffron threads so it’s a gourmet soup that’s gentle on the pocketbook. From the Chubby Vegetarian.
2 1/2 cups dried red lentils (rinsed)
1 red pepper (seeded and cored)
1 medium red tomato (cored)
1/2 white onion
1 bouillon cube
1 palmful of dried saffron flower (much cheaper and milder than just the saffron threads)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon beet powder (optional)
Over medium heat, melt butter in a medium-sized pot. Place the onion, tomato, & pepper into the food processor, and turn it on. Let the vegetables get chopped very fine until nearly smooth. Add the vegetables to the butter and cook until most of the moisture is absorbed.
Add the lentils, the bouillon, the saffron flower, and enough water to cover by about 1/2 an inch. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. The red lentils cook that fast. Blend or leave the lentils whole.
10. Winter Vegetable Soup
Everyone has their soup staple, and this one from Martha Stewart is quick and easy.
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 bunch kale ( 3/4 pound), ribs cut away and discarded, leaves torn
5 1/2 cups (43.5 ounces) low-sodium vegetable broth
1 can (14 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed
3 sprigs thyme
Grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Cook onion and garlic until fragrant, 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add squash and kale and cook until kale is wilted, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add broth, beans, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash and kale are tender, about 12 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper and serve with Parmesan, if desired.
Make Your Own!
After a morning walk through your local farmers market, your basket is certainly filled with plenty of inspiring vegetable waiting to be put to good use. There are no limits to your food creativity, but if you’re attempting to make your own vegetable soup there are some important things to keep in mind, the most crucial being building layers of taste. Here are a couple of excellent tips to make you a vegetable soup maven from Not Derby Pie.
- Roast or saute vegetables before adding liquid
- Toasting spices can elevate the flavor of your soup
- When replacing meat or poultry broth, use a mix of good vegetable stock, water, and, sparingly, wine or juice
Happy soup making!
Photo Credit: Shutterstock