Hi ladies! Cara here, from Big Girls, Small Kitchen. In the wintertime, there’s a big fight going on in my appetite. Part of me wants something light to balance out recent holiday indulgences and start the year out right… but part of me wants to curl up on the couch in my sweats and eat only comfort food. Thankfully, veggie soups provide a perfect intermediate lunch or dinner because they’re warm and hearty, but also mainly light and chock full of vegetables.
Here are three of my all-time favorite vegetable soup recipes that will keep you feeling full and satisfied:
1. Cauliflower Soup with Sharp Cheddar and Thyme
This recipe is clean vegetarian cooking with a hint of decadence. It’s an all-veggie soup made thick with potatoes instead of cream, made a tiny bit indulgent and oh-so-dreamy by the addition of sharp cheddar cheese. Fresh thyme brings the whole dish together. If you’d like to add a little crunch, whip up a batch of these paprika toasts to eat alongside. (You can see the original recipe here.)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for garnishing)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 quart chicken or veggie stock
- 2 ½ cups chopped cauliflower florets (should be the same size as the potatoes)
- 2/3 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- In a medium Dutch oven or lidded saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over a medium flame. Cook the onions until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, cover, and cook until just beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.
- Uncover, stir in the salt, garlic, thyme and broth. Bring to a boil.
- Cook for two minutes, then check the potatoes to make sure they are tender. If so, add the cauliflower, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree with an immersion or standing blender. Stir in half of the cheddar cheese and the mustard. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as needed.
- Serve in individual bowls, topped with the remaining cheese and a good drizzle of olive oil.
Makes 4 servings.
2. Cremini Mushroom, White Bean, and Barley Soup
A soup that takes inspiration from the not-at-all vegetarian Beef & Barley Soup, this recipe produces a bowl full of healthy heartiness. The depth of flavor comes from a lot of sautéed aromatics, and the chunky texture is due to big portions of chopped mushrooms, carrots, hearty white beans, and toothsome barley. Though it’s low in fat, this soup will keep you full all winter long. (You can see the original recipe here.)
- 2 large shallots, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried (or 1 teaspoon fresh) thyme
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 1 quart mushroom stock
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup pearl barley, rinsed well
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 can white beans
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat ½ tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the shallot until translucent.
- Add the garlic, red pepper, cumin, thyme, and paprika and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Cover the onion mixture with the stock and bring to a boil. Add the barley and bay leaf, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer covered for 25 minutes. Add the mushroom and carrots, and continue to simmer covered for another 20-35 minutes. Add the white beans and simmer for 5-10 minutes more.
- When the barley is tender, remove the bay leaf and taste for seasoning. Serve hot.
Makes 4 servings.
3. Roasted Carrot & Red Curry Soup
If you have a constant craving for Thai curry soups, you’ll love this recipe for a thick vegetable soup that channels the zing and richness from those curries. What makes this soup even better—and I know this sounds crazy—is the fact that it involves almost no cooking! Simply stick the carrots in the oven to roast, then pull them out and immediately puree them in a blender or food processor with the liquids. By roasting the carrots, you concentrate their flavor, and by adding red curry paste and coconut milk, you make the combination more dynamic. The result is a soup that tastes like it’s been on the stove for hours when actually, it was never there in the first place! Nice. (You can see the original recipe here.)
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 small red onions, quartered
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 inch ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1-2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
- 2 cups chicken or veggie stock
- One 15-ounce can coconut milk (full fat)
- ½ lime
- Cilantro (optional)
- Toasted coconut flakes (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, toss carrot and onion with oil, sugar, and salt. Spread the veggies evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until browned and tender, stirring once halfway through.
- Transfer the veg to a food processor or blender along with the ginger, 1 teaspoon curry paste, and the stock. Blend until incorporated. Add coconut milk and blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt and additional curry paste if you like spice. Add lime juice and any additional liquid if you prefer your soup thinner in texture.
- Spoon into bowls and serve with cilantro or toasted coconut for garnish.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Which one of these healthy soups will you make first?
Let me know in the comments below!
And if you liked this post, be sure to take a peek at my brown bag lunch recipes!
Big Girls, Small Kitchen