It’s fall, or as it’s also known, soup season! Changing leaves, chunky sweaters and cooler temperatures practically beg you to fill your crockpot with hearty vegetables and savory spices.
Vegetable soups offer an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and flavor. Serve as a side or make them the main course – these nutrient-dense dishes are low in calories and carbs but high in satisfaction. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or a meat lover looking to add some plant-based goodness to your diet, these healthy, wholesome vegetable soups are what you’re looking for.
Soups are also great for experimentation. Add more veggies, or choose a different variety than what we’ve listed here. Garnish with roasted pine nuts or pepitas to keep it vegan, or add some freshly grated Parm. Running short on time? Consider a crockpot!
The Classic: Traditional Vegetable Soup
It’s easy to modify this base recipe with your favorite veggies, beans, grains and flavors.
- 1 T. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, 1-2 onions and 1 stalk celery: Consider this trio a must for any veggie soup or stew.
- Vegetables and lots of them! Pick and choose your favorites. Root vegetables such as squash and potatoes add a good element of heartiness and fiber. Carrots and zucchini hold up well in broth and kale or Swiss chard add nice flavor, a splash of color and a serious dose of nutrition. Tomatoes and tomato paste give your recipe an Italian twist.
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- Herbs and spices: Now is the time to take advantage of your herb garden (or buy fresh or dried from the store). Sage, rosemary, basil and thyme pack a savory punch.
- Salt: Use sparingly but add enough to highlight the veggies and stock.
- Dice garlic, onions and celery.
- Cube root veggies, chop carrots, tomatoes and kale or chard if applicable.
- Sauté the garlic, onions and celery in one tablespoon of olive oil for about five minutes.
- Add the additional veggies to the sauté and stir for a few minutes to allow them to soften and absorb the flavor.
- Add vegetable stock.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour.
- Enjoy! Top with vegan sour cream, flaked Parmesan and fresh basil!
Quinoa Vegetable Soup
This mighty grain adds a proper dose of protein and rich texture to traditional vegetable soup.
- 1 T. olive oil
- The veggie soup trio: Onions, garlic and celery!
- Your favorite veggies: The classics work well for this soup, including carrots, zucchini and kale or chard.
- 1 can cannellini beans: Cannellini beans add rich, buttery texture.
- 1 fresh or 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 c. quinoa
- 4 c. vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you would like more spice): Temper the red pepper flakes depending on how spicy (or not) you want your soup. Tip: crush the flakes between your palms before adding them to the pot to crack open their flavor (then wash hands).
- In a large pot, add the olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic and celery over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.
- Add veggies (minus the kale or chard if using) and beans working in batches if needed, and stir until the veggies are slightly soft.
- Add quinoa and stir for one to two minutes until the grain begins to crack and pop.
- Pour in broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and cook until quinoa is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in kale or chard if using and cook until it begins to wilt.
- Season with salt, pepper and the red pepper flakes.
- Serve as is or top with homemade croutons, roasted pepitas or freshly shredded Parmesan.
- Settle in and enjoy!
Vegetarian Kale Soup
Combined with cannellini beans, kale brings refreshing notes and plenty of nutrients to vegetable soup.
- 1 T. olive oil
- Veggie soup trio: 1 small onion, 2 stalks celery, 3 cloves garlic!
- 1 leek
- 2 tsp. thyme
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes: Don’t forget to crush the flakes between your palms to release their flavor, then wash your hands to avoid irritating your skin.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 c. vegetable broth: For a healthier option, try low-sodium stock.
- 2 c. water
- 2 cans cannellini beans
- 1 lemon: Fresh lemon juice gives the soup a burst of flavor.
- 1 bunch kale: This hearty veggie is an excellent addition to any soup. In this version, it stands alone with a vibrant flavor that perfectly pairs with the beans.
- Freshly grated Parmesan
- Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat.
- Add onion, celery and leek and cook until soft.
- Add garlic, thyme and red pepper and cook until fragrant. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
- Stir in the broth, water and beans and simmer, giving the soup a swirl of the spoon from time to time. Tip: For a thicker soup, mash some of the beans.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and kale, cooking until the kale begins to wilt.
- Divide between bowls then grate the Parmesan directly onto the soup. Bon appetit!
Whether you’re cooking up a hot bowl to enjoy on a fall evening or looking for something light before or after exercise, these healthy veggie-packed soups are suited for everyone, offering plenty of satisfaction. If you need any more help, the expert nutrition services team at Aspen Valley Hospital can get you on the right path for your journey to better health.