6 Vegetarian Soup Recipes Way Better Than Any Canned Soup

Rich and creamy soups and stews are quintessential dishes we think of as comfort food, but dairy-free and lightened up suppers can be just as nourishing and hearty. Simple substitutions can make soups palatable for all — meat-eaters, vegans, and vegetarians alike — and lightening up the soups and stews with wholesome ingredients can aid in everyone’s fitness plight. Check out these 6 vegetarian dinners that will warm you up without filling you out. They’re free of meat, and a lot of them are also free of dairy, but they’re not free of taste, and because of the ingredients they employ, you’ll feel no guilt going back for seconds.

1. Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup

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Everyone enjoys butternut squash soup, and this version from Cookie & Kate is vegan and full of rich Thai flavor. Red curry paste and coconut milk are the star ingredients on this list that yield a fun Asian twist on a comfort food classic, and the coconut milk gives the soup a nutty taste without taking the coconut flavor over the top. Feel free to add some red pepper flakes if you like a spicier soup, and then enjoy this dish as a light meal or dinner accompaniment.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2 pounds butternut or kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk for drizzling on top
  • ½ cup large, unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add squash, onion, garlic, curry paste, coriander, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes to skillet. Stir to combine.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft, about 15 to 20 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, toast the coconut flakes in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden on the edges. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Transfer coconut flakes to a bowl to cool.

Once the squash mixture is done cooking, taste and add a little more Thai red curry paste if it’s not quite flavorful enough for you. Remove the soup from heat, and let it cool slightly. Working in batches, transfer the contents of the pan to a blender. Securely fasten the lid and use a kitchen towel to protect your hand from steam escaping from the top of the blender as you purée the mixture until smooth. Transfer puréed soup to a serving bowl, and repeat with remaining batches.

Stir the lime juice into the blended soup. Taste, and season with additional salt if necessary. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Use a spoon to drizzle coconut milk over each bowl, then lightly swirl the spoon through the topmost layer for a pretty design. Top the soup with toasted coconut flakes and a sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro.

2. Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

soup

Source: iStock

Cream of broccoli soup is a classic, but the calories that come with it are harder to celebrate. If you want your soup but want to eat healthy too, try Hummusapien’s recipe. If you’re wondering how a soup with cream in its name can possibly be vegan, we have one word for you: cashews. Soaking your cashews in water yields a dreamy dairy-free cashew cream, and in this recipe, that gets combined with sautéed carrots, celery, and broccoli to produce a dish that tastes much more indulgent than it really is.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces broccoli (about 7 cups, packed)
  • 6 cups water, divided
  • 1½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly ground pepper
Directions: Place cashews in a small bowl. Cover with water. Soak for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

Add oil to a large pot over medium high heat. Once hot, add onion and a pinch of salt, and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add celery and carrots, and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and broccoli, and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Add 5 cups water, salt, and pepper. Stir, and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Drain cashews. Place cashews and 1 cup water in a blender. Blend until very smooth and creamy. There should be no clumps. Set the cashew cream aside.

Puree soup using a large blender or immersion blender. You’ll likely have to do this in batches. Once soup is pureed, stir in cashew cream. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

3. Coconut Curried Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

stew

Source iStock

For an even heartier dish, try this coconut curried sweet potato and chickpea stew from One Ingredient Chef. It’s still vegetarian, but what it lacks in dairy and meat, it makes up for in flavor and fibrous veggies. One serving of this stew is sure to fill you up, and even if it doesn’t, there’s no guilt to be had when going back for more. The stew is only made of wholesome ingredients that pack a fiber and protein punch, and it’s up to you whether you serve this stew over rice or on its own.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon dried spices: cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, coriander, ground cloves
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • Jasmine rice, for serving

Directions: In a large, deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil and a small yellow onion. Allow this to soften for 3 to 4 minutes while mincing the garlic and chili and gathering the spices.

Next, add the garlic, chili, and ginger to the onions with about ½ teaspoon of each spice. As with all good curries, you develop so much more flavor by directly spicing the onions at the beginning as opposed to adding them to the completed dish later on. Stir, and allow the spices to mingle with the onions for several minutes.

Now, add almost all the other ingredients to the pan. Throw in the chickpeas, the can of tomatoes, the light coconut milk, and about 1 large sweet potato that has been peeled and diced into 1-inch chunks.

Turn the heat down to a simmer, and cover. This curry will need at least 30 minutes to fully break down and absorb the spices. At the last minute before serving, add a handful or two of fresh chopped parsley to complete this dish. Serve atop fluffy jasmine rice.

4. Vegetable Lentil Stew

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Source: iStock

When prepared correctly, lentils can serve as the star of vegan comfort cooking. Lentils are fibrous and satiating, and they add to the flavor and texture of traditional vegetable-laden dishes. This recipe from Taste of Home will warm you up without filling you out, and it only takes 40 minutes in total to make. One serving yields 216 calories and boasts 12 grams of fiber and protein.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups reduced-sodium V8 or tomato juice
  • 2 cans Italian stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

DirectionsIn a Dutch oven, combine the first 15 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until lentils and vegetables are tender.

Stir in spinach; heat through. Combine topping ingredients; dollop about 1 tablespoon on each serving. Yield: 13 servings.

5. Vegan Tomato Soup

soup

Source: iStock

Tomato soup exists in vegan form, and it’s just as delicious as its dairy-laden counterpart. Take this recipe featured on Vegan Yuminess, and run with it. The soup is thick and creamy thanks again to the addition of soaked cashews and coconut milk, and it takes all of 20 minutes to make. This soup serves 3 to 4 if you’re selfless enough to share, but one bite might make you stingy. It’s the perfect blend of veggies and herbs, and it’s begging to be served with a thick slice of bread.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (divided, optional)
  • ½ cup raw cashews (soaked for a few hours, if you’re not using a high-speed blender)
  • ½ cup water
  • 4½ cups stewed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

Directions: In a pan, saute onion and garlic in 1 teaspoon olive oil for 1 to 2 minutes, just until they are soft and fragrant.

Place cashews and water in blender. Blend on high for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture is fairly smooth and creamy. If you need more liquid, add a cup or 2 of your stewed tomatoes and blend again until all the cashew pieces have disappeared. Add your sautéed onion/garlic and remaining stewed tomatoes to blender, and blend until smooth.

Pour blender contents into a saucepan on medium to medium-high heat. As soup begins to simmer, stir frequently to prevent lumpiness and burning. Simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until soup color has darkened slightly. Add remaining ingredients — 1 tablespoon olive oil, coconut milk, granulated sugar, dried basil, and salt — to your saucepan.

6. Vegetarian Chili

chili

Source: iStock

Chili is quintessential comfort food, and thanks to this recipe featured on Epicurious, carnivores and herbivores alike can enjoy it. No need to make several batches of chili to appeal to everyone’s palate — make this bean chili and satisfy everyone. It’s packed full of protein and fiber thanks to black beans, kidney beans, and bulgur, and it can be served with or without the addition of fresh cilantro.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup bulgur, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes (about 2 medium or 6 plum tomatoes)
  • 1½ cups tomato sauce
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Directions: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and jalapeño, and sauté, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the bulgur, chili powder, and cumin, and stir until well combined.

Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Season with salt to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of cilantro, if desired.

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