When the weather gets cold, I rejoice. Finally, a season that matches my cold, dead heart. Kidding! But seriously, I don’t mind the cold. I enjoy the changing of seasons. It keeps life exciting, and it’s a good reason to change up my cooking and eating. During the cold winter months, I prefer to swap out my lunch salad for a warm lunch soup or stew.
If you’re getting sick of eating a salad every day for lunch, or if you are getting sick as in sore throat and runny nose, switching to soup is the way to go. You can still load up on healthy veggies, but instead of a cool, crispy pile of greens, you get a warm, steamy bowl of hearty vegetables.
Tips for easy and delicious soups
If that sounds good, and you want to make the transition easy and delicious, then you came to the right place. Here are some tips for throwing together delicious soups and stews.
Use the slow cooker
The standard clear soup base is made of onions, celery, and carrots. Chop up those three ingredients, then drop them in a slow cooker and fill it with water until there is enough water to fully submerge the veg. If you’re vegan, you might want to add potatoes, mushrooms, and/or beans – edamame beans are phenomenal in this kind of soup! If you’re not vegan, add some meat. Set the slow cooker on high and let it go all day.
Use the blender
Squash, peas, cauliflower, and potatoes all make great bases for thick, creamy-like soups. Peas and potatoes will give you a hearty base, while squash and cauliflower will be a little lighter and creamier. Add some plant milk and your base ingredient to a blender and let it rip. After that, toss in whatever other vegetables you have on hand and maybe some spices, and put it on the stove to boil.
Chili it up
I don’t care what kind of soup you are making, its flavor will almost certainly be enhanced by a healthy portion of chili powder. Hint: If you are looking to add some meaty flavor without adding meat, make sure smoked paprika is an ingredient in your chili powder. If you’re looking to stay on the healthy side, make sure to watch out for chili powder mixes that have added salt. If you’re interested in more chili-ness than just chili powder, then make actual chili!
Favorite whole food plant based soups
French onion soup
This one is super easy and only requires a couple ingredients.
- Chop up some onions and drop them in a pot
- Sauté the onions on low-medium heat until they’re soft (keep the heat low so they don’t brown too much)
- De-glaze the pot with a splash of wine
- Pour in some prepared broth (or just use water, mushrooms, celery, and thyme)
- Let it simmer for an hour (or longer if you don’t mind a little more of the liquid evaporating out)
- Top with salt and pepper to taste
Chicken noodle soup
You can add chicken if you want, but this soup is delicious without it too!
- Chop mushrooms, celery, carrots, and onions
- Throw the veg in a slow cooker
- Add some white beans, chicken, tofu, or tempeh (protein, yo)
- Spice it up with some dill, parsley, and/or garlic if you have them on hand. If not, salt and pepper works well too
- Top it off with water and a little splash of apple cider vinegar
- Let it slow cook all day
Ramen noodle soup
- Chop some mushrooms and tofu
- Sauté them in the bottom of your pot until slightly browned
- Add some onion powder, garlic powder, and ginger powder – lighter on the ginger
- Top it off with water
- Simmer for 35 minutes (longer doesn’t hurt)
- Add some ramen noodles
- Boil for 5-10 minutes (depending on how long the noodle packaging says to cook the noodles)
- Turn the heat off and stir in some miso paste to taste
- Top it off with some green onions
A couple more favorite soups
If you’re looking for something fancier, give one of these soups a shot:
- Curried Split Pea Soup with Cauliflower
- Black-eyed Peas and Kale Soup
- Mexican-spiced Roasted Red Pepper and Corn Soup
Other lunch changes for Winter
If you’re not a fan of soup, but still want to join in the cold weather fun, you can also start having sweet potatoes for lunch. They are a warm and filling addition to any lunch. Some other winter fruits and vegetables to try:
- Kale, bok choy, and cabbage
- Butternut, spaghetti, and acorn squash
- Carrots and parsnips
- Oranges, kumquats, and grapefruit
- Jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes)