During winter my soup consumption goes way up, and I tend to be most drawn to meat-heavy options like beefy stews, ramen rich with pork fat, or good old chicken noodle. But meat certainly isn't a requirement for making a warming pot of soup—winter offers an array of root vegetables, brassicas, grains, and beans perfect for making comforting vegan soups and stews. From filling pasta e fagioli and refreshing white gazpacho to a complex ramen, we've rounded up 16 of our favorite vegan recipes to get you through the winter. A lot of them call for vegetable stock—most store-bought options are thoroughly mediocre, so make your own with our ultimate or quick and easy recipes.
Vegan Peanut, Sweet Potato, and Kale Soup With Coconut
This dish is inspired by West African peanut soup, but it's far from authentic. We made the dish our own with freshly toasted peanuts, coconut fat, and Thai flavors like garlic, ginger, and chilies. Get ready for an arm workout—a mortar and pestle is the best way to grind both the peanuts and the aromatics.
The Best Minestrone Soup
It's impossible to present one definitive recipe for minestrone—the name can refer to an infinite number of hearty vegetable stews. Think of this as a basic outline and feel free to make it your own. The important elements are dried beans, a broth made from the bean cooking liquid, diced aromatics, and assorted vegetables.
Ribollita (Hearty Tuscan Bean, Bread, and Vegetable Stew)
This ultra-hearty Tuscan stew got its start when people started adding beans and stale bread to leftover minestrone for a cheap, filling meal. Like with minestrone, you can use basically any vegetables you'd like. If you keep reducing down past stew consistency you'll wind up with a sort of batter that you can make into a rustic pancake.
Quick and Easy Dairy- and Fat-Free Colombian Vegetable Soup (Ajiaco Negro)
When it comes to making a hearty vegan soup, potatoes are one of the most powerful weapons in a chef's arsenal. This vegan version of ajiaco—a Colombian soup of carrots, corn, peas, fava beans, and broth—is wonderfully thick thanks to all the starch potatoes release as they cook.
Hearty Vegan Polenta and Kale Soup With Miso and Toasted Sesame Oil
Tradition would call for making this Italian-inspired polenta and kale soup with parmesan cheese, but to keep it vegan we turn to two other umami-rich ingredients: soy sauce and miso paste. To stick with the Japanese-Italian fusion theme, we top the soup with toasted sesame oil and sliced scallions.
Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Bean and Pasta Soup)
Made with both beans and noodles, pasta e fagioli is one of the heartiest soups around. In this simple vegan version the beans aren't just filler, they're a major part of the dish, which means you should use good dried ones. Cook the beans more than you think you need to—if some start to fall apart that will just make the soup thicker and more satisfying.
White Gazpacho With Grapes
Tomato-based gazpacho has to be made with high-quality fresh tomatoes, so it's not an option this time of year. That's not the only kind of gazpacho, though. Almond- and garlic-based white gazpacho is less common than the tomato version, but it's just as traditional (and more importantly, just as delicious). We blend up the nuts and tons of garlic with olive oil and ice water, then garnish with fresh, sweet green grapes.
Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato and Bread Soup)
If you're still looking for something with tomatoes, try pappa al pomodoro. Like gazpacho, this Tuscan soup is made with tomatoes and bread. But unlike gazpacho it's cooked, so good canned tomatoes work just as well as fresh ones. Another benefit of cooking the soup is that stale, dry, and fresh bread all work fine—use fresh if you have it for the shortest cooking time.
15-Minute Creamy Tomato Soup
Using bread as a thickener works just as well in a classic American tomato soup as it does in gazpacho or pappa al pomodoro. White bread acts as an emulsifier to make this easy soup—made with canned tomatoes and olive oil—as creamy as our non-vegan version. The recipe only takes 15 minutes, but with a high-powered blender you can skip the stove entirely and make it in just five minutes.
Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup With Crispy Shiitake Chips
We use bread to thicken our vegan cream of mushroom soup, too. It's not just a compromise to make the recipe vegan, though—replacing the typical cream with bread actually improves the soup. Dairy fat dulls flavors, so cutting it out lets the mushrooms really shine. For crunch and even more mushroom flavor, garnish the soup with fried shiitake chips.
Roasted Sweet Potato Soup With Pistachio, Orange, and Mint Salsa
This recipe isn't quick, but most of the time is just spent roasting the sweet potatoes—an hour in a low oven brings out their natural sugar. Once they're soft and sweet, all you have do is add them to sautéed aromatics, broth, and orange juice and blend. What really makes this dish special is a flavorful garnish of pistachios, scallions, orange zest, mint, and cayenne.
Spicy Carrot and Ginger Soup With Harissa
You really don't need a recipe to make a creamy vegetable soup of any kind. All you need to do is follow a simple eight-step process and keep in mind a few easy tips, like refraining from using too much liquid. Here we start with fresh raw carrots, then we add harissa and ginger before blending.
Fully Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup
Loaded baked potato soup is all about the cheese and bacon, so how do you do it justice with a vegan recipe? The answer is our vegan nacho cheese—as rich and gooey as dairy cheese thanks to cashews, almond milk, vegetable shortening, and potatoes—and smokey mushroom "bacon." Nutty roasted cauliflower and a dash of liquid smoke brings it all together.
Vegan Curry Butternut Squash Soup With Kale
This soup doesn't try to imitate dairy or meat—it gets all the flavor it needs from squash, kale, quinoa, and a generous helping of curry powder. We finish the nourishing one-pot dinner with bright cilantro and crunchy toasted pepitas.
Easy Lentil Soup With Lemon Zest, Garlic, and Parsley
Lentil soup isn't my favorite dish in the world—I appreciate the hearty texture, but it can be a little too bland for my taste. This version is anything but thanks to gremolata, a flavor-packed mix of parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. We sauté some of the mix with a simple mirepoix base, then use the rest as a garnish.
The Ultimate Rich and Creamy Vegan Ramen With Roasted Vegetables and Miso Broth
A rich bowl of porky tonkotsu ramen is a thing of beauty, but this vegan version has so much going on that you won't miss the meat. We make the broth with fresh and charred vegetables, fresh and dried mushrooms, and a shiitake-based tare. Ramen needs fat, and here that comes from a mushroom-scallion oil. We go a little crazy with the toppings, using charred eggplant, roasted sweet potato, and roasted and simmered mushrooms.