It seems as though fall was made for soup. The cooler nights make you crave something warm and savory and the flavors of the in season vegetables shine brighter together than on their own. In fact, soups are an excellent way to sneak in nutrient dense vegetables, which will help keep your immune system strong for cold and flu season. What the green smoothie does for the warmer months, soups do for the fall!
Make Your Own Super Easy Soup
Perhaps the best thing about soups is they are incredibly easy to make and you can really use any ingredient you have on hand. First, cut up your vegetables into about ½ inch cubes. If you prefer larger chunks of vegetables you will just need to cook them a little longer. Then sauté the vegetables on in a large stock pot using a little bit of olive oil, garlic and pepper, as well as any herbs that you have on hand. When the vegetables have begun to soften, add enough stock to the pot to cover the vegetables. Then simmer, covered, for about an hour. At that point you can either eat the soup as-is, or puree it into a creamier version.
If you are going to use the soup as a full meal replacement, it is important to add some source of protein and healthy fats. Some great vegetarian protein sources are beans & lentils, edamame and hemp hearts. As for healthy fats, I really love adding avocado to my soups! However, adding some dairy or coconut milk can create a really smooth and creamy meal as well.
After you have made your soup, you can eat it all immediately or vegetarian soups are a fantastic option to save for a later day. Pre-portion the soup into individual servings using freezer bags or mason jars. Most soups will last in the freezer for about 3 months.
If you are more of a recipe follower than a “throw it all into a pot and hope for the best” type of cook, here are a few of my favorite vegetarian soups on the web:
Butternut Squash Soup (via Wellness Mama)
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup (plus more to thin) homemade chicken broth or stock
- 1 sweet onion
- 2 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ tsp nutmeg (or to taste)
- ½ tsp garlic(or to taste)
- sprinkle of thyme (optional)
- Cut top and bottom off of butternut squash and use knife to carefully cut remaining skin off.
- Cut in half and scoop out seeds (they are great roasted!)
- Chop squash into small cubes and dice onion.
- In a large stock pot, melt the butter and add diced onion.
- Saute 3 minutes until starting to soften and add squash.
- Saute an additional 5 minutes until squash starts to brown.
- Add coconut milk, stock, and spices and bring to simmer.
- Simmer about 20 minutes until soft.
- Use a blender or hand blender to puree until smooth.
- Serve warm or make ahead to reheat for a fast meal addition.
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (via Cookie + Kate)
- 8 or 9 tomatoes, cored and quartered
- 3 red bell peppers, seeded and quartered
- 2 small yellow onions, cut into wedges
- 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper, to taste
- olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees with two racks placed in the middle of the oven.
- Grease two (preferably rimmed) baking sheets. Place tomatoes, skin side down, on one of them.
- Toss the onions and red peppers lightly with olive oil. Place on the other baking sheet, with the red peppers skin side down. Place the unpeeled garlic on the sheet, too.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- Heat your vegetable broth on medium-high heat. Peel your garlic and toss it in. Add roasted vegetables and simmer for ten minutes.
- Purée the soup using an immersion blender or transfer the soup to a blender, several cups at a time.
Vegetarian Chili (via Dr. Weil)
- 7 1/2 cups cooked beans (roughly four 15-ounce cans or 1 pound dried beans, cooked)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, diced
- 1 dried or canned chipotle pepper
- 1 tablespoon mild red New Mexican chili powder, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon dried whole oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 5 cloves garlic, mashed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Drain beans in a colander.
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until they are soft and golden.
- Crush the chipotle pepper if using dried, or mince if using canned.
- Add the chipotle pepper, red chilipowder, oregano, cumin and allspice to the onions. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 20 seconds.
- Add the tomatoes and beans. Simmer for 45 minutes, adding liquid if the mixture gets too dry.
- Add salt andpepper to taste, and more chiliif you want a hotter dish.
- Serve in bowls with warm tortillas. Garnish with chopped raw onion, chopped tomato and shredded lettuce.
Article first appeared on www.totalgymdirect.com.