If you love hummus for its smooth creaminess, garlicky punch, and lemon tang, then get ready for your new favorite soup. That’s right—we turned the dip of the decade into a soup that’s savory, silky, and garlicky good. A portion of the chickpeas are reserved and toasted in a skillet to offer some chew—a nice textural contrast to the creaminess of the pureed soup. If the soup feels a little too thick, adjust by blending in more water, 1⁄/4 cup at a time. You can make the soup a day or two ahead, but you’ll definitely need to adjust the texture, as it will overthicken upon standing. Make the toasted chickpea topping up to a day ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature. For the sake of your sanity, purchase tahini in a jar with a wide mouth; narrow tops make it difficult to stir and spoon out what you need.
Creamy Butternut-Leek Bisque
Whole-grain quinoa simmers in the soup and then gets blended into the mix—resulting in a thick, creamy, luscious texture. Don’t be afraid to let the blender go for a couple of minutes; that’s the path to super-smooth results. We call for precut-prepped butternut squash because it’s a real time-saver, slashing up to 20 minutes of prep time; you’ll find bags of the peeled, cubed squash in the produce section with the bags of broccoli florets and other prepared-prepped veggies. For the prettiest appearance, go with beige-colored quinoa and skip red or tricolored varieties. Greek yogurt goes into the soup to brighten the taste, and another dollop goes on top as a finishing touch along with crunchy almonds.
Quick Loaded Potato Soup
This slimmed-down version of the beloved potato soup gives you more flavor, less glop, and full hearty satisfaction—with all the yummy toppings you expect. With one simple extra step, the standard mashed potato process leads to a creamy soup adorned with all the great baked potato toppings. For the best texture, stick with russet potatoes; starchier varieties won't yield as creamy a result. The soup reheats well, so it's a good make-ahead candidate; just store the toppings separately.
Inspired by the classic Portuguese dish caldo verde, this soup takes on a rich flavor from Spanish chorizo—so that little other seasoning is required. Be sure to pick up firm, cured Spanish chorizo (seasoned heavily with paprika and typically sold in links) and not soft, raw Mexican chorizo—a delicious but totally different product. Or you can use kielbasa, though the soup will take on a smokier personality.
Herby Lentil-and-Sausage Soup
Inexpensive dried brown lentils make up the bulk of this soup, with accents of Italian sausage for richness. Dried brown lentils hold their shape after being cooked, so this soup is a good one to make ahead. The spinach will lose its vibrant color, though, so either add it when reheating the soup or make your peace with the darker color. Here's a supersimple soup tip: Simmering with whole thyme sprigs infuses flavor without your having to strip those little leaves off the stems; simply remove the sprigs before serving.
Slow Cooker Beef-and-Barley Stew
Something wonderful happens over the long simmer in the slow cooker: The barley cooks to tender-chewy perfection, the beef becomes meltingly tender, and the liquid thickens to a beautiful gravy. Brown the meat, toss it and everything else in the slow cooker, and let the magic happen. Go with hulled, whole-grain barley here, and skip quick-cooking pearl barley; the latter isn't whole grain, and it will cook to mush over the long simmering time. If you can't find hulled barley, you can try wheat berries, whole-grain farro, rye berries, or Kamut instead. This soup is great for freezing, as it thaws and reheats beautifully.
Slow Cooker Beef-and-Sweet Potato Chili
Robust chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper are tamed and balanced by sweet potatoes. Leaving the peels on the sweet potatoes has three benefits: Prep is faster, you add more fiber, and the potatoes hold their shape better after the 7-hour simmer. Besides, the peels get so tender that you barely notice they’re there. If you’d like to change things up, try parsnips in place of the sweet potatoes; they have a similar sweetness and earthier flavor and won’t fall apart after cooking for an extended time. You don’t need to fully cook the ground beef before it goes into the slow cooker; just cook it enough to “set” the shape of the crumbles.
Easier Chicken Noodle Soup
When cheese-filled tortellini is the noodle in your chicken noodle soup, the whole bowl gets a hearty upgrade. Using cheese-filled tortellini as the noodle here adds more flavor than plain pasta; a hint of miso further enriches the broth. You can make the soup a couple of days ahead—just leave out the pasta, as it will swell once it goes into the liquid. Reheat the soup until it comes to a simmer. Then add the tortellini, and cook 6 minutes.