Super Simple Soups
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 Carrot and Lemongrass Soup
A silky, subtly spiced soup with a hit of sweetness that makes fall vegetables feel downright swanky. Lemongrass and curry paste give this Thai-inspired soup extraordinary depth of flavor. Look for lemongrass paste in the refrigerated produce section, near the packages of fresh herbs. Using prechopped butternut squash makes prep a breeze; find it at most well-stocked grocery stores in the produce section with the bags of other prepared veggies. Bonus: One serving of this soup delivers 100% of your daily dose of vitamin A.
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.
Easy Pork Posole
Most pork posole recipes call for pork shoulder. We lessen the legwork by using ground pork instead. Hominy is a hallmark of posole; find it canned in the Latin and Mexican foods section. This low-stress soup is great for serving a crowd and even better for leftovers the next day. If the soup thickens too much after being refrigerated overnight, stir in up to 3 tablespoons stock or water for every serving that is reheated.
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.
Smoky Lentil Stew
Dried brown lentils are nutrient-packed, inexpensive, and quick-cooking, making this low-fuss stew perfect for a hearty weeknight dinner. A wealth of aromatics joins forces with smoked spices and tomato paste to create a fragrant broth with a smoky edge. The crowning jewels of this one-pot vegetarian stew are the poached eggs, which cook beautifully in the steaming-hot pot of lentils. Be prepared: You will want crusty bread to dip into the runny egg and sop up the remains.
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.
Turmeric Chicken-and-Chickpea Soup
We gave the ultimate comfort food a restorative upgrade by adding anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich ingredients like turmeric, ginger, and garlic. In place of noodles, which tend to swell in soups, we look to canned chickpeas, which add texture and boost fiber. As with most soups, the magic is in the broth: Searing the chicken thighs first creates browned bits that add savory richness, while coconut milk lends a silky finish. Whether it’s holiday stress or under-the-weather blues getting you down, this recipe will help restore and recharge you.
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.
This hearty yet healthy Italian classic features humble ingredients that make a big impact. Escarole is transformed by heat, changing from a bitter green into something soft, mellow, and sultry. If you crave extra crunch, use fresh green beans instead of canned. If you can’t find escarole, substitute an equal amount of coarsely chopped lacinato kale, red kale, or Swiss chard. Parmesan cheese lends savory depth and body to the broth, while accents of pancetta add richness. As with most soups, the longer it sits, the better it gets, making this a great make-ahead option. Bonus: One serving delivers more than a quarter of the day’s calcium and almost 30% of your daily potassium goal.
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.
Three-Bean Miso Chili
Craving an adventurous upgrade from the classic beef-and-tomato-based chili? Then look no further. This recipe combines three varieties of budget-friendly beans for textural contrast, along with a kitchen sink’s worth of aromatics. Miso is the ticket to achieving pronounced depth in this vegetarian soup, while peanut butter helps build body. Find white miso in the refrigerated section near the produce. To make this dairy-free, use coconut yogurt in place of Greek yogurt to amp up the creaminess. Bonus: One serving delivers half your daily fiber goal.
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.