30-Minute Pasta and Kidney Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli)
This simple Pasta e Fagioil isn't packed with meat like Nonna's undoubtedly was, but a ton of garlic, bacon (you can use pancetta, guanciale, or even crumbled sausage if you'd like), oregano, and a couple bay leaves add plenty of flavor to the mix.
The point of good Vichyssoise is the soup's simplicity: a puree of potato, cream, stock provide the soup's body to showcase whichever vegetable is at hand. The original recipe featured leeks, which are also found in this version, but the addition of carrot gives it a beautiful color and sweetness. The result is basically carrot essence in soup form.
Pumpkin and Leek Soup
The best part about soups like this is the easy preparation: Dump pumpkin chunks and sliced leeks into a quart of water, simmer, and blend. The result is rich, vegetal and tasty, but the final luxurious touch comes in the form of cream, sour cream, or yogurt to soften it. A drizzle of olive oil and thick bread, and dinner is served.
30-Minute White Bean Turkey Chili
Though this quick and easy chili doesn't have the tomatoes found in many chili recipes, it highlights creamy cannellini beans, fresh poblano peppers, and green chilies. If you have more time, you can char the peppers under the broiler or over a gas flame (carefully). Then peel, seed, and chop them once cooled. You can also thicken the liquid by mashing some of the beans with a potato masher, or leave it more broth-like if that's your preference.
Agreeably Simple Potato Leek Soup
There are moments in early November when the mere anticipation of post-Thanksgiving fullness will make anyone full, if not ever-so-slightly comatose. At times like these, even the most devout givers of thanks need a simple, comforting dinner, composed almost entirely of vegetables, but not in a salady sort of way. It should fit in a single bowl, fill your belly just enough, and warm you from the inside. And if its smooth, velvety texture happens to gesture almost imperceptibly in the direction of gravy, well then, so much the better.
Cheddar Beer Soup
The problem with most cheese soups is they seem more like a cheese dip than something you're supposed to eat with a spoon. This recipe manages to balance the funky kick of a great cheese with a truly flavorful broth. Despite the long list of ingredients, this soup comes together surprisingly fast, yielding a remarkably layered and complex dinner with a certain tang and attack, which only the cheese can help balance.
Curly Kale and Potato Soup with Sausage
The chicken broth in this recipe evokes the use of chicken noodle soup as a classic cold remedy. Layers of big flavors like caramelized onion, browned crumbled sausage, and kale on top of the homemade chicken broth are deeply satisfying. Covered with a cloud of Parmesan and a hit of black pepper, it's just sharp enough to wake up the palate of even the most clogged-up diners.
Chickpea Flour Soup from Provence
The flavor of this soup is simply remarkable, considering the short list of ingredients. The secret ingredient is chickpea flour, which provides body, creaminess, and wonderful flavor, transforming a simple broth into something wonderful. If you like hummus, you're sure to like this soup (but it's a lot silkier and luxurious than puréed chickpeas).
Sichuan-Style Chicken Noodle Soup
This chicken noodle is warming and comforting, with hunks of chicken meat and slinky noodles suspended in a rich stock. But this isn't some bland rendition. No, this soup is imbued with the haunting aroma of star anise and cinnamon, and tickled by the numbing sensation of Sichuan pepper. A sprinkling of chopped chile completes this assertive bowl of soup, which comes together surprisingly fast.
Curried Lentil Soup with Chickpea Purée
Lentils have a reputation as sort of drab, so inherently, a lentil soup recipe just isn't going to send you running to the kitchen with nothing on your mind besides, "I have to cook this now," like a picture of a dripping burger or a seared, crusty steak might. What makes this soup so good though? The secret is in the assertive curry spices and the addition of chickpeas, bringing both spice and creaminess in droves.
Curried Celeriac Soup
The gnarly, knobby look of celeriac (a.k.a. celery root) is pretty unconvincing when you first see it at the market. But inside is the smooth white flesh that can become a luxurious soup. This recipe is not much of a groundbreaker, but the addition of curry powder and fragrant cumin definitely pairs well with the vegetal, celery flavor. Thanks to the creaminess of celeriac itself, you can get away using milk instead of cream to keep the soup light.
30-Minute Black Bean Soup
Canned beans are designed mainly for convenience, and have a neutral flavor that will work moderately well with any dish, but shine in none. Luckily, there are means to getting a bit of flavor back into those guys. Cumin, garlic, and hot chilis along with onions and peppers form the flavor base of this soup. The kicker is the canned chipotle pepper, which is everywhere these days, but no less delicious for it.
Cioppino, San Francisco's iconic fish stew, is a great recipe because it comes together quickly, has a ton of flavor, and feels like an adventure as you uncover different bites of seafood lurking in the tomato broth. Whatever you do, make sure to serve it with some thick, toasted bread drizzled with olive oil, either lining the bottom of your bowl or served on the side —or, if the mood is right, opt for both!
Quick Kale, White Bean and Sausage Soup
In addition to being quick to make, this soup is packed with kale and white beans for a healthy fall or winter meal. The recipe uses chicken sausage because it's lighter, but feel free to use Italian sausage if you'd like a little more fat in the dish. Drizzle good-quality extra-virgin olive oil before serving to add more flavor to the dish and serve with crusty bread to sop up the juices -- it's the best part.
30-Minute Tuscan White Bean Soup
Given the grim history of usage of the word, there might not be anything actually Tuscan about this Tuscan Bean Soup, but it's nevertheless delicious. The key is plenty of rosemary and a hunk of rind from some good Parmigiano-Reggiano tossed in while it simmers. That and plenty of good olive oil for drizzling.
Vegan Black Bean and Squash Chili
This chili is quick, healthy, and vegetarian. It gets substance from butternut squash, peppers, and black beans, while dried oregano, cumin, and chipotles in adobo add flavor and heat. Avocado and cheese are necessary additions, not only for added flavor but also for their creaminess, which helps to offset the heat from the peppers. If you're a chili-head, you can go for the whole can of chipotles, but as it is, it's still got some kick. Use vegan cheese to make this dish 100% vegan.