Recommend me your favorite vegetable soups!
December 7, 2017 9:04 AM   Subscribe

I would like to make vegetable soups this year. Recommend any primarily-vegetable soup - I cook mostly vegetarian but sometimes cook with meat for holidays.

Any soup! Unusual ones are nice but I will also accept your favorite receipt for pea soup, that kind of thing.

I have access to a very wide array of ingredients from many cuisines, especially East and South Asia.
posted by Frowner to Food & Drink (40 answers total) 78 users marked this as a favorite
My friend made me this mix and match recipe outline which I always appreciated.

My favorite one lately is red pepper lentil soup. Simple and hearty.

6 cups chicken stock [or whatever, soup base, not too salty]
1 onion
1 red pepper
4 carrots

chop veggies & sautee in olive oil & add to hot stock

1 1/2 c red lentils
1/2 c wild rice
[or whatever, 2 cups grains]

add 2 tsp cumin [or to taste] and red pepper flakes. Salt & pepper to taste.

Simmer on low heat til lentils are soft, about 90 min. Stir every once in a while.
posted by jessamyn at 9:11 AM on December 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

One of my favourites is this Tomato and Peanut Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas .
posted by toby_ann at 9:13 AM on December 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

This posole, minus the chorizo plus more mushrooms and a chile en adobo chopped with some extra adobo sauce.
posted by Fig at 9:20 AM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

This year we've been making a lot of soup thickened with beans and grains. Take about four sturdy/root vegetables of your choice (sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, squash), grate or process them until they're mostly mush with a few bigger chunks. Sweat two onions until translucent with as much garlic as you like and a couple of bay leaves in with them. Add the first round of seasoning (about 4-5tsp total, any blend of spices you like - I've had success with cumin, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground coriander, smoked paprika, chilli powder, taco seasoning in various combinations) plus salt and pepper.

Then add the grated vegetables to cook in with the onions for a bit. Make up 1.5-2l vegetable stock/bouillon and add it to the mix, and also add in a handful of any grain you like (pearl barley, bulgur wheat, spelt and quinoa have all worked well, or a mix) and a couple of cans of beans (anything that comes in water - pinto beans, butter beans, black beans are all good). Then leave the whole thing to simmer on the stove for about 45mins-1hr. You might find you need to add more seasoning once all the stuff is in. It's really hearty and delicious.

Lately I've also enjoyed Thai-style pea soup. Make regular pea soup and season it with lemongrass, ginger & spearmint instead of regular mint; coconut milk optional.
posted by terretu at 9:22 AM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Pickle Soup!
Sounds weird, but super delicious! It is not, as one might imagine, just a bowl of brine. It's actually quite a savory veggie soup with just a bit of a sour-tangy kick. The linked recipe is similar to the way I like it, with grated veggies instead of diced, and you can just use vegetable stock instead of chicken or pork, if you prefer.
posted by Kabanos at 9:26 AM on December 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

This chard and white bean stew is surprisingly delicious
posted by mjcon at 9:30 AM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

This Winter Lentil Soup is so yummy.
This Zuppa Toscana that I've made in the InstaPot with vegan replacements (Beyond Meat crumbles, coconut milk and vegetable broth) is delicious, too!
posted by jillithd at 9:41 AM on December 7, 2017

I've been making this vegan cauliflower soup with buckwheat groats a lot this year. My only recommendation is to double the roasted cauliflower/buckwheat topping.
posted by crush at 9:43 AM on December 7, 2017

Big Mo Minestrone. It's packed with vegetables!
posted by purple_bird at 9:45 AM on December 7, 2017

It is probably obligatory that I post a link to The Moosewood Daily Special so lemme do that now.

But the recipe I'm going to share is actually not from this - it's the classic French Provencal soupe au pistou. Which is really adaptable to whatever vegetables you can find - if you can't get any good tomatoes, leave 'em out. If you saw some really awesome chard in the market, throw that in. The only real "musts" are the beans and the pesto. Posting you to David Lebovitz's recipe because it's the first one I found online just now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:52 AM on December 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Alton's best vegi soup. I, of course, add copious amounts of chuck roast and italian sausage.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:53 AM on December 7, 2017

Every time I make soondubu jjigae [spicy tofu soup] with kim chi I briefly think...tofu and kim chi? How is that going to be anything other than spicy? I don't really even LIKE straight-up kim chi. And yet if you do it right with lots of umami ingredients, the sum winds up being so much more than the parts. There are lots of recipes. Here's a pretty straightforward vegetarian one, but do browse around and see what additions/substitutions most match your personal tastes and availability. You can substitute regular ground red pepper (use less) or crushed red pepper for the Korean hot pepper flakes but Korean red pepper paste is quite unique and essential. I like it with sesame oil rather than a neutral oil, and often add in a little cubed daikon radish or turnip for more body. I don't use bean paste. You can replace the vegetable stock miso powder/water. Many non-vegetarian recipes call for anchovy stock (seaweed and anchovy) but if I'm short in time I use dashi powder. The point being to look for little ways to slip extra umami in there.
posted by drlith at 10:04 AM on December 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

This parmesan broth with kale and white beans recipe from Smitten Kitchen knocked me over with its high deliciousness:complexity ratio. Strongly recommend adding a little raft of toasted bread to your bowl.
posted by guybrush_threepwood at 10:09 AM on December 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

I LOVE Ash e Reshteh (also called Persian New Year's Soup). It's mostly a bean, noodle, mint, spinach soup topped with caramlized onions and yogurt, maybe lemon. There are variations out there - here are two that I've tried. Hearty, flavorful, and delicious!
posted by raztaj at 10:44 AM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

saute an onion til sweet.
optionally also add a chopped up apple.
add 1 can squash or pumpkin puree. add plenty of curry powder (and salt if your curry doesn't have salt in it.)
add a can of coconut milk.
correct acidity with lime juice or another acid. you may want to add garlic salt for even more brightness.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:00 AM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mujaddara - I prefer only a tiny amount of cinnamon and I leave out the pine nuts.

Harira is a Middle-Eastern soup that's very popular during Ramadan to break the fast. NY Times version. I used rice instead of broken vermicelli noodles.

I love dal and I prefer the seasoning mix from Shan but there are a million easy recipes online for doing it from scratch.

Kimchi soup and a vegetarian version.
posted by shoesietart at 11:17 AM on December 7, 2017

I cannot stop recommending this Celery Soup. I was eating a bowl of it as I read this thread and it is DELICIOUS.

I use somewhat less butter than called for (putting in 2 tbsp rather than a stick) and almond milk instead of heavy cream and it is still super tasty.
posted by urbanlenny at 11:27 AM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

That parmesan broth recipe is awesome. Deborah Madison's vegetable soup book is great and I especially like the broccoli cheddar soup recipe, which works for a meal but isn't too thick and rich.
posted by clavicle at 11:29 AM on December 7, 2017

This vegan minestrone is rich and ymmy (I use GF noodles in mine)
This lentil soup is as life-enchanting as it claims to be. Don't let the not-so-awesome photos deter you!
This celery root and fennel chowder is SCRUMPTIOUS.

We eat a lot of veggie soup here, and these are the three that we make most often because they're easy, hearty, deeply flavourful, and D E L I CI O U S.
posted by Dorinda at 11:38 AM on December 7, 2017

Coming back in - if you have good enough vegetables, just going minimalist can be a revelation. I actually find that most recipes for butternut squash soup or carrot soup add a lot of orange juice or curry or ginger or whatever - but my very favorite butternut squash soup recipe is nothing but the cubed squash and a couple cloves of garlic, just enough water to barely cover it over, and simmered until the squash is soft - then throw in some fresh sage and blitz it with an immersion blender. And after tasting a carrot soup in Paris that was probably nothing more than carrots, water, and salt, that's how I started making mine too.

Single-vegetable-with-just-enough-water-and-just-a-little-salt can be fantastic.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:18 PM on December 7, 2017

Using Kenji's templatized How to Make Creamy Vegetable Soup, I've had great luck with roasted cauliflower & carrots tossed with curry and cumin that was then pureed with vegetable broth.
posted by mmascolino at 12:27 PM on December 7, 2017

Two that immediately sprang to mind are this Moroccan carrot soup and this West African peanut soup (which is just as good without chicken).
posted by saladin at 1:09 PM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

This Hokkaido pumpkin soup is delicious. When I first had it in a vegan version, the toppings were crushed Amaretti di Saronno, which was surprisingly good.
posted by mumimor at 1:10 PM on December 7, 2017

This "Southwestern Harvest Soup," from a Jane Brody cookbook, is pretty good.
posted by brianogilvie at 1:16 PM on December 7, 2017

Borscht! I like a sort of clean simple early spring version.

Make a vegetable stock with your usual carrot celery onion plus chunks of those huge bulk beets that you've scrubbed clean and also a bundle of dill. Occasionally skim off the top, it should be bright magenta and not at all cloudy with a bright sweet vegetal flavor.

Prep tiny potatoes (just slice in half), minced celery tops that you reserved from before, and take beautiful smaller fresh beets, peel and grate them. Strain your stock and add the potatoes. Simmer until they're not quite tender, then add the grated beets and celery tops, simmer until everything's tender and adjust seasoning. If you love it you can add some sauerkraut but I don't so I tend to squeeze a little lemon in there along with a tiny bit of sour cream in each bowl - not too much. The potatoes will be pink on the outside but white or yellow on the inside - very pretty. Enjoy with toasted dark rye.
posted by Mizu at 1:26 PM on December 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

I don't understand how potato leek soup can be so delicious when it contains only three ingredients, but potato leek soup is very delicious and it contains only three ingredients.

Sweat some chopped leeks in butter. (I used 2-3 leeks and several tablespoons of butter.) Once they're softened, toss in cubed potatoes and cover with water. Season liberally with salt and pepper, then cook until the potatoes are very soft. Puree with an immersion blender (or a plain blender, if you don't have one). I often cook some potatoes separately to add back to the soup after it's pureed, because I like the texture of potato chunks in there. I also like to top with homemade olive oil croutons. (Toss cubes of stale bread with olive oil, salt, pepper; bake at 300-ish until they're crispy.)

A lot of recipes will tell you to use stock instead of water, and they'll thicken the soup with cream. I don't do either -- I think it covers up the really nice, really deep flavor of the vegetables.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:49 PM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

You want Minestrone with Giant White Beans and Winter Squash. I make it with Pancetta but you don’t have to.
posted by The Toad at 3:11 PM on December 7, 2017

This Italian potato and mushroom soups is delicious. I tried it last week and will definitely be making it again.
I couldn't get fresh porcini, so I just used ordinary mushrooms.

My very simplest vegetable soup is creamy winter vegetable. Bear in mind that I'm in the UK and may not know the American equivalents.

One supermarket stew pack of vegetables (usually 2-3 carrots, a small swede or turnip, 1-2 parsnips and a leek or onion)
One medium carton creme fraiche (not the low-fat version)
Good vegetable or chicken stock (if I don't have my own I uses Marigold or similar

Peel and chop the vegetables, add them to a pan of the stock and cook gently until they are done. Take the pan off the heat and whizz it up with a stick blender until it is the texture you want. Then add the whole carton of creme fraiche and whizz that in. Season to taste. That's it.
posted by Fuchsoid at 4:31 PM on December 7, 2017

Two sour soup options, one meaty and one vegan: solyanka and sambar.
posted by All hands bury the dead at 4:40 PM on December 7, 2017

Creamy almond squash soup I improvised during a lactose intolerant phase, and have continued because it tasted better and lasted longer for leftovers than making it with dairy.

Butternut squash or pumpkin - I like half and half. For me a biggish butternut and a smallish sugar pie pumpkin will fit together in my 6 qt crock
A cup or two of your favorite broth
Cube of caramelized onions from the freezer (or actually caramelize some onion)
Bunch of fresh sage
Salt and pepper to taste
Almond milk (unsweetened)
Timing: takes a few hours, start before lunch to serve at dinner.
Note: don't use the slow cooker liner for this one because it does not play nice with the immersion blender
Pour broth about 2 inches deep in the slow cooker, add the onion and S&P. Set it on low heat while you cube the squash, so the onion can melt. Stir before dropping in the squash to fill the cooker around 3/4 (more and the blender step will be messy). Splash a little more broth on each layer of squash so it's all a little wet. Tie the sage in a bunch and set it on top.
Cover and cook on low a few hours until tender, stir it around halfway through and add another splash of broth if it seems dry.
When you can easily mash a squash cube against the side of the crock with the back of a spoon, it's time to blend.
Pull out the sage bundle and toss it. Use immersion blender to cream the squash until there are no big lumps.
Pour in a little almond milk at a time while blending, until you get the consistency you want.
Continue to keep on low in the cooker until 15-20 minutes before serving, then turn cooker up to high to get up to a yummy temp, (also good to eat cold)
Garnish each serving with a little more fresh sage if you're fancy

Variations: Pumpkin pie spice blend instead of the sage and onion makes it sort of weirdly dessertish which I actually kind of liked. I've also done apple cider instead of broth but it came out too appley for me.
posted by buildmyworld at 5:34 PM on December 7, 2017

Pumpkin soup can be lifted from delicious to really, really delicious via judicious augmentation with cumin and star anise, preferably ground on the spot with a mortar and pestle.

The first time you mess with your usual pumpkin soup recipe in this way, use way less spice than you think you need - the idea is to add a delicate hint of Hmmm This Soup Has Something New In It to the subtle existing flavours of a good pumpkin, not blast them apart with Oh My God It's Full Of Star Anise.

My favourite base recipe for pumpkin soup is just a good pumpkin (Queensland Blue works well, as does Kent), a medium sized carrot, a half decent vegetable stock powder (any vegetable stock that's fairly heavy on celery flavours is good; chicken stock works too) and olive oil.
posted by flabdablet at 5:35 PM on December 7, 2017

Ezo The Bride soup is a delicious Turkish soup made with red lentils and bulgur.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 5:51 PM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Silver Palate's Curried Butternut and Apple Soup is delightful and loses nothing from using olive oil/vegetable stock. I use Granny Smiths because it tends towards the sweet side but I've also been adding in a can of pumpkin to bolster the squash. It is very, very flexible. If you like heat, extra cayenne goes well. Turn it into lunch by adding a healthy dollop of yogurt after reheating. Enjoy!
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:27 PM on December 7, 2017

We just tried this Curried lentil and coconut soup (the first recipe) — it will now be on our permanent favorites list
posted by mumimor at 12:03 AM on December 8, 2017

This Turkish soup is AMAZING, cheap, easy to make, and about 345 calories per bowl, if you're keeping track. Seriously it is heartier than chili and has marvelous flavor.
posted by egeanin at 1:53 PM on December 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

A very simple yet elegant soup I’ve made for years is Bell Pepper-Pine Nut. You remove stem & seeds from 4 or 5 red, yellow, and/or orange bells. Stick them in a pot with enough vegetable broth to cover. Simmer until soft. Meanwhile gently toast (careful, they scorch easily) a quarter cup of pine nuts. When ready, blend the nuts and the bells together until smooth.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:09 AM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just made this slow cooker Butternut Squash soup yesterday, and it was lovely. My first time to ever have butternut squash soup too.
posted by Fence at 6:55 AM on December 10, 2017

This Serious Eats Thick and Creamy tomato soup is amazing. It also freezes well.
posted by thaths at 3:18 PM on December 10, 2017

I just made an interesting celery root soup! You need a small onion, a couple small potatoes, and a celery root about the size of a softball. Chop the onion and peel and dice the potatoes, then melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a pan. Dump in the onion and potatoes, cover that over and let that sweat on medium-low for about ten minutes (stir every now and then). Meanwhile, peel and dice the celery root. Then when the potato and onion are soft, dump the celery root in with about a quart of stock or water. Bring that to a boil, then turn down and simmer until the celery root is soft - then puree that.

The final touchcomes with the serving - you top it with chopped hazelnuts sprinkled on top of the bowl.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:04 PM on December 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

One of my favourite simple soups is Tomato, Potato, and Dill. I don't have a recipe but it's roughly like this:

1 large onion, sliced
2 large potatoes, scrubbed and sliced (you can peel them but I don't bother)
Vegetable stock (or whatever)
Tomatoes, chopped (fresh if in season, otherwise frozen or canned. Ideally peeled, but I don't bother)
Fresh dill

Sautee the onion until soft. Add potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are soft. Add tomatoes and heat through. Add some roughly chopped fresh dill, then puree. Garnish with chopped dill.
posted by Frenchy67 at 12:40 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

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