Soup is the perfect food! Honestly, I eat it year round but it's extra satisfying when the weather turns cooler.
Soup also fits nicely into many different lifestyles. You can make it in one pot. It reheats nicely. You can even freeze it. You can stuff a soup full of all kinds of healthy veggies. It's budget-friendly. What's not to like?
I'm going to share six filling plant-based soups I've been jamming on lately but first, let's take a closer look at some of the benefits of soup.
Soup for Weight Loss or Maintenance
As I'm writing this, we're fresh off of the holiday season. What do many people do over the holidays? Attend a bunch of parties and gatherings and overeat.
If you have a few extra pounds that you want to lose or you like where you are and want to stay there, soup can help! Here's why soup can help you reach your goals.
Soup, at least the plant-based ones below, contains a lot of water. Water helps fill you up without adding calories. When you don't use oil in our soups, they are even lower in calories.
These soups are also packed with veggies and beans. Both give you plenty of fiber and the beans give a nice protein boost.
And, it takes longer to eat soup than something like a burger. That gives your body more time to start to feel full.
If you are interested in weight loss, I recently saw a presentation on volume eating by Jeff Novick. It's a little over an hour and you can watch it on YouTube.
Why Soup is Perfect for Meal Prep
I've been meal prepping soup for lunches for months now. How do you think I got to try all of these?
Perfect for Batching
If you like to batch cook, soup is your friend. You can make a bunch in one pot, whether it's a multi-cooker like an Instant Pot or just a pot on the stove. That also means clean-up is easier.
Cooked soup will keep 5-7 days in the refrigerator. And the flavors tend to develop further as it sits. If it's more convenient for you, freeze the soup in single servings. They're great to have on hand for sick days.
Soup is perfect to take on the go. If you'll be out and about, heat it up and carry it in an insulated container. If you have lunch in a break room with a microwave, heat it up at lunchtime. I like glass containers for reheating so you don't have to worry about toxins in the container.
Now that we've talked about some benefits of soup, here are some of the soups I've been making since the weather turned.
6 of My Favorite Plant-Based Soup Recipes This Season
The variety of produce contracts a bit in winter time in a small mountain town. You might experience something similar where you are. So these soups rely on mostly in season produce, canned or dry beans, frozen veggies, and spices.
Red Lentil Soup with Greens
I've been making some version of this Red Lentil Soup with Greens soup for years. And for good reason - it's simple, pretty quick, tasty, and satisfying.
These days, I skip the oil. But I've found it's totally unnecessary! Try it without. You won't miss it.
Use whatever greens you want. I use kale most often but use what you've got. Spinach or arugula are both great options.
I make my Red Lentil Soup in the Instant Pot now because I put almost everything I can in there but the red lentils break down pretty quickly on the stovetop.
Curried Lentil and Kale Soup
This season, I tried the Curried Lentil and Kale Soup from The How Not to Diet Cookbook. The curry was a delicious twist!
Unfortunately, the recipe isn't online. But if you have the book or check it out from the library I highly recommend this one! If you want to make it in the Instant Pot like I did, cook on high pressure for 15 minutes and then let the pressure release naturally, Stir in the kale and lemon juice after the pressure comes down.
Split Pea & Cauliflower Soup
Sometimes when I want to try a new recipe, I head over to the Forks Over Knives website and search the ingredient I want to use. In this case, I had some split peas to use and wanted to try something different than straight split pea soup.
The Split Pea & Cauliflower Soup recipe I found there was delicious! I was short on split peas and made up the difference with some red split lentils. And I added greens, as I do. Gotta get in your leafy greens!
Because it's me, I made this in the Instant Pot. Cook it at high pressure for 15 minutes and let the pressure release naturally.
The photo above was taken the day I made this soup. It thickens up considerably after a night in the fridge. So if you like a thicker split pea soup, don't worry, it'll get there!
Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Winter Squash
I love lentil soup and have never met a Kathy Hester recipe I didn't like so this Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Winter Squash soup was an obvious one to try. It was fantastic!
Plain brown lentils worked perfectly here. For the squash, I chopped up an organic delicata that I had (anyone else impulse buy them?) but any winter squash will do. Delicatas are nice because you don't have to peel them.
Easy Vegetable Soup
Short on time? Try this Easy Vegetable Soup! It tastes better than it has any business tasting considering how easy it is. This soup relies mostly on cans and frozen veggies.
This soup is also the perfect place to use up any veggie odds and ends. Make it later in the week just before your next grocery store trip.
In the last one I made, I added some wrinkly grape tomatoes and the end of a box of baby kale.
You don't need an Instant Pot for this. On the stovetop, just simmer until the potatoes and any other hard veggies have cooked through.
Ribollita with White Beans and Kale
Here's another one from the How Not to Diet Cookbook, but this Ribollita with White Beans and Kale recipe is posted online. You'll note a recurring theme here; there are beans and greens in almost every soup! That really helps them to be filling and rounds out the nutrition nicely.
For this one, I couldn't find the savoy cabbage so I substituted napa. And, you guessed it, I popped it in the Instant Pot. 15 minutes at high pressure with natural pressure release cooked the potatoes through without breaking them up.
Are you a soup fan? Which one of these sounds most delicious to you?