We all know soup is good food, for sure, and a great stock is the perfect way to start.

You can purchase delicious and robust vegetable stocks in the store, however, making your own is easy (and also economical). Think about all of the vegetable peels you might toss each week, even if it is environmentally friendly in the compost bin. Consider placing all of the ends of carrots or celery, onion, and garlic peels, herb stems, or even pea pods in a gallon freezer bag in your freezer (remember to date it, so it doesn’t get lost in time), and when it’s full, place contents in a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for at least an hour (or longer) and allow to cool. Strain the vegetable scraps and discard and you’ll find you have a rich stock with flavors you determine, salted to your specifications.

Stock should be stored, covered, and kept in the refrigerator. It stays fresh for a few days, however, if you're not going to use it soon, store it in plastic freezer containers, and label and date them. Up to six months is typically a good time frame for keeping these in the freezer – and if you want smaller quantities than the pint or quart containers, consider freezing some stock in ice cube trays. Pop-out the cubes and place in freezer bags – great to add when you’re cooking rice or grains, too.

Here, we have a number of soups that range in textures, herbs, and flavor profiles. These are great healthy options for the cold-weather season, yet each one is filling enough to make a meal.

Creamy Herbed Tomato Soup with Croutons

4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-28-ounce can crushed tomatoes or 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or tomato puree
  • 1-14-ounce can of cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
  • Sea or Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Ciabatta or Italian bread slices with rosemary, cubed and toasted

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a medium stockpot add a drizzle of oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add in tomatoes, beans, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add fresh basil, thyme, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Using immersion blender (or regular blender, in small batches), process until desired consistency. Serve with toasted croutons and/or a sprig of fresh herb floating on top.

Hearty Corn and Potato Chowder

4-6 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (1/2-inch)
  • 3 carrots, diced (approximately same size as corn kernel)
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup almond or non-dairy milk of choice
  • 3 scallions, chopped fine, or chopped chives for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat and add carrots, potatoes, and onion.
  2. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes and add garlic, cooking 1 minute longer. Add vegetable broth, thyme, parsley, salt, bay leaf, and bring to a boil; lower to a simmer and cook until potatoes and carrots are soft, approximately another 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove bay leaf, and use an immersion blender to blend part of the soup and thicken. Add corn and cook until heated through and corn is cooked (if using fresh).
  4. Mix in the almond/non-dairy milk and return to a simmer for an additional 5 minutes, stirring periodically.
  5. Serve in bowls topped with scallion garnish and freshly ground black pepper.

Mulligatawny Soup

4-6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (dried)
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup yellow or red lentils
  • ¼ cup rice
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • Juice from ½ lemon

Toppings:

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Lemon wedges
  • Roma tomatoes, diced

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook, stirring for approximately 5 to 7 minutes until vegetables soften. Mix in thyme, bay leaves, curry powder, garam masala, coriander, and cayenne pepper.
  3. Add vegetable stock, coconut milk, lentils, and rice, and bring to boil, reducing heat to bring mixture to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until lentils and rice are tender. Add lemon juice.
  4. Serve with optional toppings and a side of your favorite Naan.

Creamy Broccoli Soup

4-6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

For Soup

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups broccoli, chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano (or marjoram), chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup coconut milk

For Broccoli Croutons

  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Broccoli croutons:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss broccoli florets with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.
  2. Place broccoli on baking sheet and roast for approximately 10 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.

For the Soup:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a small stockpot. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes until translucent.
  2. Add broccoli, carrot, celery, and oregano and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt. Sauté for a few more minutes; add garlic and cook, stirring for another minute or two.
  3. Sprinkle vegetables with flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add vegetable broth; the broth should thicken. Whisk in almond and coconut milk. Simmer over medium-low heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup to desired creaminess. Ladle into bowls and top with broccoli croutons.

Ribollita or Tuscan Bean Soup

8-10 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 medium-sized onions, chopped
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 quart (4 cups) vegetable stock
  • one 14.5oz can chopped tomatoes, or 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 pound Cannellini beans or Great Northern beans, rinsed and boiled in water for approximately 45 minutes, and drained; or 2 - 15-ounce cans
  • 8 slices of bread (stale or day-old bread works best here), cut into 1-inch x 1-inch pieces
  • 5 leaves of sage, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • One-half-pound kale or spinach, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated, vegan Parmesan-style cheese alternative, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. If using dry beans, cook the beans as directed above and set aside.  Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Add carrots, celery, and onions; continue cooking until softened. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add the stock, tomatoes and their juices.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mash half the cooked beans with a fork and stir into the pot with the pieces of bread. Bring to a boil over high heat. Return the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining beans, herbs, and kale (or spinach) and simmer for 20-30 minutes more.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls, and top with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of Parmesan-style cheese (if using).