We’re a week into spring, and I didn’t expect it to be soup season in Texas. This winter has been so strange with rollercoaster temperatures of highs and lows. Way back in October, probably during a cold front, I started a weekly soup challenge to bring more warmth into our meal planning. Some weeks were timed perfectly to have a hot, hearty soup for dinner while other weeks, like the end of the journey in February, had me begrudgingly making soup in unseasonably high temperatures in the 80s.
There are two kinds of soups. One is pureed at the end and topped with crunchy garnish while the other borders on a stew. The soups on my list below are mostly stewy soups because when you’re making soup as a meal, you want it to be chunky and hearty.
Do you know the best thing about making soup? It’s relatively easy. You do a little prep, throw all the ingredients in a pot, and cook it until it’s done. It’s also reasonably simple. I have to show Julia Turshen’s soup formulas (below are from her site) for it to make sense.
Most soups follow the same formula. For hearty soups, it’s sauteed, add liquid, add ingredients, and simmer. For pureed soups, you blend it after simmering. (Here’s my plug to add an immersion blender to your kitchen arsenal. It’s much easier than transferring soup back and forth from a blender.)
Whether you want soup for the season or you’re looking for an easy recipe, there are so many soup recipes out there. The challenge I put together for myself was making a different soup recipe every week, which I did from October to February.
Here are the 18 soup recipes I enjoyed!
A solid soup to start off with, this soup is made in one pot. I would argue one-pot cooking is the whole goal of making soup. This soup is one I’ve made before and one of the first we thought of when we started this weekly soup journey.
A friend recommended this soup and it is exploding with flavor! That makes sense because it has cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, and cayenne pepper. This was my first time cooking with lentils!
A few years ago, a friend made this soup for a dinner party and it was a hit. We’ve enjoyed this one annually.
It was my first time making this recipe and I really liked it. It’s creamy without milk and loaded with veggies and mushrooms.
5. Beef Stew
Soup or stew? To me, if the liquid can cover the ingredients, it counts as a soup, which makes the words soup and stew interchangeable in my opinion. They say it’s soup when the liquid is the primary ingredient but other than pureed soup, is liquid ever the primary ingredient? Don’t judge by my photos; I tend to get less juice and more bulky stuff when I ladle my soups. I feel you shaking your head at me.
This is one of my favorite soups. Back when we got a regular CSA, we got leeks and potatoes in the same box often. This recipe is vegan but we saute ground beef to make it a hearty dinner soup.
Of all the soups I made, this one was a tiny bit more complicated, but it was worth it! This soup involved making my own meatballs, which was equally stressful and rewarding. This is one of my favorite soups because it is hearty and because orzo is one of my favorite ingredients.
Butternut squash soup is an annual make! I like to make it a bit spicy and the most important part is the garnish – toasted pumpkin seeds and fried sage. My favorite variation of this recipe is in the Super Simple Half-Baked Harvest Cookbook. Remember when I cooked through the cookbook?
9. Caldo Verde
Most of our grocery shopping is done without a set list, which drives me a little crazy. I typically like to make bookmarked recipes. But you never know what you’ll find (or won’t find) at the grocery store, which makes flexibility and spontaneity a regular part of our shopping. So, when we spied beef shank on the shelf, this recipe was found, made, and enjoyed.
10. Tom Kha Gai
I made it nine weeks before falling back on my regular soup! This is my go-to soup recipe and I make it several times a year. It’s an easy and tasty way to cook chicken (because I’m always looking for those recipes) and the flavors are delicious. I’ve made it so many times I make the recipe up as I go or find a random recipe online to reference. My quick tip is using cayenne pepper in place of Thai chiles because getting those usually requires a dedicated trip to the Asian grocery store.
11. Cauliflower Soup
We brought the joy of soup to the holidays with this one. This soup was made to be a side dish to an extravagant holiday meal. This soup is hard to make look appetizing but it was good.
12. Zuppa Toscana
This recipe is based on the popular dish from Olive Garden, and though I never had it there, I can tell why it’s a hit. Honestly, put potatoes and kale in any soup and I’m there. We used ground beef instead of sausage in this soup, and this has made it to my go-to soup list.
Our friend recommended this soup after hearing about our weekly soup adventures. This is a very easy, meat and potatoes kind of soup.
14. Oxtail Stew
This recipe came out of the blue when I threw out the word oxtail, but we ended up making this one multiple times. It’s a rich soup and was quickly devoured. It’s a time-consuming recipe but worth it!
15. Kao Soi
Ah, weekly soup goes to another dinner party! The dinner party theme was Thai food, and this is one of my favorite Thai noodle soup dishes. It’s an intensive soup, which most Thai recipes can be, but the Thai Fresh Cookbook makes it easy. Kao Soi originated in Northern Thailand and is similar to yellow curry but with more depth. You eat it with flat egg noodles. If you see it on a menu, order it!
This sounds like an interesting combination, right? It’s similar to beef stew but has the curry ingredient and uses sweet potato. This soup came about when we realized we had most of the ingredients already.
It took me this many weeks to think about Mexican soup. I’m not sure what sparked this recipe, but I was excited to cook with tomatillos and hominy for the first time. This recipe was so delicious! I used chicken thighs though because I don’t believe in chicken breasts.
18. West Lake Soup
I got the Woks of Life cookbook a few months ago in hopes of learning how to cook more Chinese dishes! I have memories of enjoying this soup at fancy events and big family meals. I’ve got to practice my egg drop technique though because my soup ended up with a few big egg globs.
The goal of making a different soup every week was one I looked forward to and only mildly stressed about. I liked that it was for a season instead of a year and it came at the perfect time. This winter was strange and the anticipation and enjoyment of a warm soup was a bit of sunshine. It’s likely that I (and maybe you) usually make a lot of soup in the winter anyways, so this challenge also made it feel like an accomplishment. The best part was I discovered many new favorite soup recipes that I’m sure will make their way into the rotation again!
What’s your favorite soup recipe?
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