Soup may not be the first thing that leaps to mind when you think of Thanksgiving dishes, but why shouldn't it? We love a good, nourishing soup on most other frosty late fall/early winter days—one that infuses the whole kitchen with smells of simmering onions and spices and just begs you to cozy up next to the stove to mooch off its heat—so there's no clear reason why Thanksgiving would be any different. Plus, most soups are easy to make ahead and reheat, and many improve in flavor as they sit overnight, so they're a godsend on the day of. You'll have to set out bowls in addition to plates, of course, but for these 14 soul-warming soups, made with traditional and not-so-traditional fall ingredients, that's a small price to pay.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup With Brown Butter and Thyme
For a pumpkin soup that tastes like pumpkin and not at all like pie, we ditch the baking spices and slowly roast the squash to concentrate its flavor, allowing its natural sweetness to stand out. Thyme and bay leaves more than balance out the bit of maple syrup we drizzle in for added depth.
Miso-Squash Soup With Sesame-Ginger Apples
To make your squash soup truly savory, poach kuri, kabocha, or butternut squash in a dashi broth rather than roasting it, which will play up its nutty and earthy qualities instead of its sweetness. Miso paste and lemon juice round out the flavors; a fresh apple, scallion, and ginger garnish lends just a hint of sweet brightness.
Roasted Squash and Raw Carrot Soup
You could make a squash and carrot soup by roasting both vegetables to concentrate their flavors, then puréeing them with water. But to avoid diluting those flavors you've just worked so hard to bring out, roast the squash alone instead and use carrot juice to thin the purée. You'll end up with the best of all possibilities: depth from the roasted squash, freshness from the raw carrot, and an intensely earthy flavor.
Mexican Butternut Squash Soup With Ancho Chili, Crema, and Pepitas
The mildness of butternut squash makes it easy to pair with other flavors. Since squash is indigenous to the Americas, we looked to Mexico as inspiration for our seasoning here, adding not-too-hot ancho chilies and a garnish of crema, cilantro, and pepitas.
Roasted Sweet Potato Soup With Pistachio, Orange, and Mint Salsa
Sweet potatoes most commonly appear on the Thanksgiving table heavily sugared and gussied up, in the form of the infamous marshmallow-topped casserole (though we've got tips for making a grown-up-friendly sweet potato casserole, too). This soup is a world apart: a blessedly simple blend of roasted potatoes, carrots, and aromatics, lightly sweetened with a splash of orange juice. The elegant garnish of pistachio, mint, and orange swirled into each bowl makes it feel special.
Creamy Spiced Parsnip Soup
Despite their natural sweetness, parsnips aren't assertive enough to carry a dish on their own. We bolster their flavor with an unexpected combination of aromatics and seasonings in this soup: ginger, coriander seed, jalapeño, and lemon juice. The soup ends up citrusy, complex, just spicy enough to be interesting—and fully creamy thanks to a two-step blending and straining process, despite containing no dairy whatsoever.
The Best Potato-Leek Soup
Depending on your household-craziness level come Thanksgiving time, you can make this potato-leek soup the easy way or the harder-but-more-rewarding way. For the absolute best texture, mash your potatoes with a ricer and whisk them into the blended soup. To save time, you can blend the potatoes right in with the rest of the soup—just be sure to stop before it's totally smooth, or it'll get too gluey.
Spicy Carrot and Ginger Soup With Harissa
This deeply warming soup exemplifies the fact that when you use the right techniques, you can transform just about any vegetable into a creamy soup. Start by prepping your main ingredient (in this case, carrots), sweat or brown aromatics (here, onion, leek, garlic, and ginger), add other flavors (fiery harissa), add your liquid (vegetable stock), then purée and emulsify. With this basic formula, you can mix up the base ingredients and seasonings however you'd like.
Creamy Chanterelle Mushroom Soup
Though the result is very different, the idea here is much the same as for the carrot-ginger soup above—here, chanterelles substitute for carrots, and the aromatic ingredients are shallots and garlic. Because the mushrooms exude a lot of liquid, use a little flour to thicken the soup and help it emulsify. Sherry or dry white wine gives the soup acidity, but add it fairly early on to give it time to mellow out.
Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup With Crispy Shiitake Chips
Sound like an oxymoron? It may not contain any cream or butter, but thickening this soup with bread and olive oil makes it even better than traditional cream of mushroom soup. By eliminating the dairy, you give the finished product a brighter flavor and allow the mushrooms to shine. The topping of crisped shiitakes lends needed crunch and a little woodsiness.
Brown Butter-Sunchoke Soup With Brussels Sprouts and Bacon
Sunchokes caramelized in brown butter turn sweet, nutty, and delicious; blended with leeks, onions, and sage, they make a wonderful fall soup. To add more complexity, we garnish it with one of our favorite Thanksgiving vegetables: charred Brussels sprouts.
Creamy Roasted Broccoli Soup With Buttermilk and Spiced Pepitas
Another big perk of making soup: It's a great way to salvage vegetables that are just a bit past their prime. Here, we roast broccoli and blend it with buttermilk to make a creamy soup with a mild tartness. For a garnish, toast pumpkin seeds with ground coriander, cumin, mustard seed, and turmeric.
Creamy Cauliflower and Bacon Soup
Smoky bacon is a perfect complement to cauliflower in this simple soup, flavored with scallions, onion, garlic, and bay leaves. As you cook the ingredients, the dairy will break—don't worry, it'll all come back together when you blend the soup.
Easy 30-Minute Red Lentil Soup With Curry Yogurt
There are a million ways to flavor lentil soup, but this particular recipe is among the simplest and the most satisfying. It uses scallions, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, and chili, which we pulverize in the food processor to help them sweat out faster. Extra flavor comes from a garnish of Greek-style yogurt mixed with curry powder and chopped cilantro.