Soups & stews that freeze well
January 20, 2022 7:13 AM   Subscribe

Please give me your most delicious and non-fussy recipes for soups and stews that can be frozen for future meals. I no longer eat meat, but fish, shellfish, dairy, tofu, etc. are fine. No allergies. What recipes are yummy both after you make them and after you freeze them? Thank you for helping feed me, hive mine!
posted by Bella Donna to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I am not a cook but I do make a few big soups a year and freeze them. They all have meat (my favorite one is to use up every last bit of the Christmas ham) and in any case I don't follow a recipe or anything, so nothing there would be appropriate for you.

BUT what I will say is that wild rice is so nice in soup and in my experience freezes and reheats beautifully. Other sorts of rice and grain: not so much, in my experience. Maybe there's better ways to do freeze/reheat soup with other grains, I don't know those tricks. But wild rice: yes. If you want to have a grain in your frozen soup, go with wild rice.
posted by phunniemee at 7:26 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

An oldie but goodie: black bean and pumpkin soup with cinnamon and ginger. I always use canned diced tomatoes.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:27 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]

Navy bean soup:

Navy beans, carrot, onion, salt, water and/or veggie stock, sachet of bay leaves, parsley, smoked paprika, cook until thick and beans are very tender, make fresh cornbread to make the frozen leftovers more fun, as can a dash of brown sugar.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:29 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Creamy Tempeh stew:
Sautée onions, carrot, celery in butter or veg oil. After a bit add crumbled tempeh, as it warms whisk some flour into milk and then add that. Season liberally with sage, thyme, parsley. Add frozen peas near the end, salt/pepper to taste.

You can throw a store-bought pie crust over thawed leftovers to make a nice pot pie.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:37 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]

I love a good soup. Here are all the ones I’ve made recently. All New York Times cooking recipes:

Turkey and white bean

Spring tofu soup

Spicy white bean and broccoli

Chickpea harissa soup

Curried carrot and coconut soup
posted by you'rerightyou'rerightiknowyou'reright at 7:39 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

This red lentil stew is amazing.
posted by fight or flight at 7:47 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]

I just made these Brothy Beans and they’re fantastic. (I put kale in mine.) You can eat them as-is, or dump them over cous-cous or thick, crusty toast. You can stick a soft-boiled egg on them. Or serve with labne and pita, and some other Mediterranean sides. And they freeze great!
posted by functionequalsform at 7:52 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Agreed that most rice freezes mushy in soup, so for any recipe that includes it I just make the soup without it to freeze and just add freshly-cooked rice when I reheat it. You can also make and freeze single servings of rice separately.

This sweet potato peanut/groundnut stew is extremely riffable - use whatever greens you've got, add beans (I've done cannellini, garbanzos, and pintos).

There are a hundred variations on lentil and sausage soup, and you can use vegan crumbles or sliced Italian faux-sage links, or just use the seasonings that are generally in sweet Italian sausage - most particularly fennel/anise seed. I make big batches of this as a base, and then when reheating I might add pasta or diced potato (or serve it over baked or roasted potatoes) or sauteed eggplant.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:55 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

I don't have the recipe, but I grew up on my mother's frozen and reheated chili. There were always gallon bags of it in the chest freezer.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:40 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]

I make a vegetarian chili in the crockpot a few times every winter and it's probably better after freezing and thawing. We just dragged one out of the freezer the other day for chili mac, so good. My general rule of thumb is:

one pound dry beans, rinsed/sorted/soaked overnight -- kidney, black, whatever I have on hand

Then in the morning, I drain and rinse the beans and combine with:

large can diced tomatoes in juice (28-oz. size)
large can crushed tomatoes
diced jalapeno
diced green pepper
frozen corn - about 8-oz. or whatever strikes your fancy
2 packets of chili seasoning mix (you can use your own spices or be lazy like me and just do this)

I usually add in at least one of the empty tomato cans full of water. Cook on low all day in the crockpot-- it's ready when the beans are soft, which for me is usually after about 10 hours of cooking on low. My husband & I usually get about 3 chili dinners out of this and two chili mac dinners to add some variety to it.
posted by jabes at 9:11 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]

I have been making a lot of 'winter soup' lately. I combine frozen veg, some cubed potato and some kind of protein like ham or sausage or chicken in a pot, cover with water, add some vegetable stock cubes/powder and bring to a boil. I let it simmer for 15-20 mins and season to taste. It keeps well in the fridge and it freezes well.

The mixed frozen veg is typically primarily root veg, leeks and for some reason the last bag also contained zuchini (not sure I would add that as I think of z as summer vegetable). I prefer potatoes to grains because at least the hard boiling varieties take longer to disintegrate. And a bit of disintegration is nice because it adds substance to the soup. It's not a precise science - ratio is about 4 parts veg : 1.5 parts potatoes : 1-1.5 parts protein.

I would think replacing the meat with canned beans would work well. You may have to add more spices and fat if you don't have ham or sausages contributing both.
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:12 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Right now, I have something like this simmering on the stovetop. I don't put in sausage, and it is still fantastic.

If you like okra, this is lovely. I keep okra in the freezer at all times so I can make it when I want.
posted by mumimor at 9:17 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

I've had a lot of luck with chili using impossible beef. I use this turkey chili recipe as the base because I have a 6 year old who doesn't like beans, and this is flavorful but not spicy. I don't bother to do it in the crockpot, so I use a lot more broth (I used homemade chicken broth, you could use vegetable broth or beer or water). I like leftovers as a regular bowl of chili, but I also like it over elbow noodles or rice.

Also, this Hungarian mushroom soup was good. I think it's better with more broth and less milk/flour slurry. When freezing, don't add the sour cream until after thawing. I used cremini mushrooms, sometimes marketed as "baby bellas."
posted by vunder at 9:38 AM on January 20

Here are some I make repeatedly :)

Lobster in yellow curry sauce. I make and freeze the curry sauce, which is fast and easy if you use store-bought curry paste and curry powder. Sometimes I add tamarind paste and/or pineapple. I use frozen lobster, which I pan-fry while reheating the curry. It's delicious.

Lobster bisque. Same basic process as above. I make and freeze the bisque (without the cream). That's a little time-consuming, but easy. I add a tablespoon of Minor's Lobster Base, which you buy in little tubs, and which lasts forever in the freezer. Later I thaw and rewarm, adding the cream and pan-fried lobster.

Ethiopian Spicy Red Lentils Very easy. I eat it with couscous.

Lentil soup. It took me a long time to get lentil soup right. I just couldn't get the density of sharpness that I wanted; it always turned out watery and bland. The trick—for my palate anyway—turned out to be using way more lemon zest (or True Lemon / similar) than this recipe calls for, and also adding a ton of cumin. I also throw a ton of sumac on top. The leeks and carrots and celery are totally skippable IMO, especially if you want to keep things simple. They don't add much.

Ghanaian Chicken and Peanut Stew. Really simple and delicious. You could just skip the chicken or sub in some other protein.

Here's a chili recipe that's really great if you drastically simplify it lol. You would want to drop the short ribs (and maybe sub in impossible burger as vunder said). I recommend also dumping the chocolate, coffee, soy, marmite and vodka, because they taste ridiculous.

In general I find most things with a pureed vegetable and/or bean/lentil base freeze great. I no longer freeze things with the protein in them; usually I add the protein element when I'm rewarming.
posted by Susan PG at 10:36 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Cook's Illustrated recommends against freezing soups and stews that contain chunks of potatoes or squash; the freezer turns them to mush. (I found this out the hard way with some beef stew that I had to pick the mushy potatoes out of after thawing. They were not pleasant.) But I find that most soups freeze well otherwise.
posted by pmdboi at 10:45 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]

I made 12 bean soup the other day from roughly this recipe and this recipe. I ended up not adding the canned tomatoes at the end.
posted by kathrynm at 3:47 PM on January 20

I feel like I recommend this on every vegetarian/vegan threat on AskMeFi, but this sweet potato lentil stew freezes wonderfully.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:25 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

Not a soup or stew per se, but as I type this I am eating Mediterranean Braised Green Beans that I pulled out of the freezer yesterday.

It is originally a Cooks Illustrated recipe and the key is the baking soda which I think is what keeps the beans from turning mushy even though they cook for a long time. They do soften a bit more after being frozen, but still are not what I would call mushy. And the flavor just keeps getting better. I usually substitute mint for the recommended parsley and add some feta crumbles. Go easy on the cayenne at first unless you know you like things spicy. If you like it you can also easily double the recipe in future.
posted by Preserver at 4:50 PM on January 20

Most anything except soups or stews thickened with eggs.
posted by tmdonahue at 5:19 PM on January 20

I don't have a specific soup to share but rather Kenji's template for making creamy vegetable soup. He gives you a step by step process where you can substitute your own choices for veg and herbs and liquid, etc.

All of these soups should freeze well. I particularly like roasted carrots and cauliflower with ginger.
posted by mmascolino at 9:06 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Mom also froze the hamburger soup she was always making from ground beef, canned tomatoes, and any scraps that were lying around the kitchen. She'd also freeze ice cube trays of its broth so we kids could cool down our reheated soup with "soup cubes" if we found it too hot.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:58 PM on January 20

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