For dreary days and weary souls, there is soup. Whether you’re stirred by brothy or blended varieties, those that lean creamy and rich or light and verdant, the perfect soup is out there for you. Find your match in at least one of the vegetarian recipes below.
Sue Li describes this brothy number as “the perfect salve for cold winter days,” and her recipe comes together in just 20 minutes. The noodles and poached egg add richness, and the soup builds flavor from greens, mushrooms, soy sauce and sesame oil. The broth alone is capable of instantly lifting spirits.
You can always count on Melissa Clark for comfort — and her upgraded potato soup delivers. She describes it as “if cheesy mashed potatoes became a cozy soup.” It may not have the shortest ingredient list, but it’ll still delight, however you interpret it. According to one reader: “I didn’t bother to peel the potatoes, I forgot the lime and jalapeños, and I probably used the wrong kind of potato. And it was still the most delicious soup I’ve ever made.” In Melissa we trust!
Kay Chun imbues so many of her recipes with genius moments, and this soup is no exception: She brightens this cozy combination of green vegetables and pasta with fresh pesto and ginger. There is a lot to love here, not least of all the fact that the dish comes together in just 20 minutes, in just one pot.
Ali Slagle takes four primary ingredients — canned beans, canned tomatoes, olive oil and garlic — and creates a slightly more adult version of an old favorite. You’ll start the soup by toasting chopped garlic until golden and nutty. From there, you’ll simmer to meld flavors and then blend the soup with enough liquid of your choosing (stock, cream or even nut milk) to create your perfect spoonful.
Joan Nathan skips the schmaltz and eggs in this vegan matzo ball soup, and instead embraces aquafaba as a matzo-meal binder. This dish was created for Natalie Portman, who understands the power of its comforting qualities: “It’s a very sad world without good matzo balls,” she said.
Recipe: Vegan Matzo Ball Soup
This soup from Yasmin Khan via Mayukh Sen is as flavorful as they come. Yasmin roasts the cauliflower with cumin and coriander, coaxing out the vegetable’s nutty notes. She then blends it with potato, which adds body, and turmeric, which bolsters its earthiness. Crowning the soup with some of the reserved roasted vegetables and toasted almonds offsets its creamy base with textural crunch, creating a meal meant to be savored.
Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower Soup
If a bowl of green vegetables is your comfort food, this is your recipe. For a vegan soup that is bright, verdant and defiantly rich, Sarah Copeland boils broccoli, fennel and celery until tender, blends the mixture until creamy, then tops it with cashew cream and olive oil.
David Tanis knows that just a spoonful of miso and some hot water make a fairly tasty meal — but he builds on that at every opportunity with this vegan stunner. The dish starts with a homemade dashi, using kombu, shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce, that is then fortified with marinated mushrooms, miso and ginger. Spoon the soup over a delicate mound of tofu for a meal that feels as good as it tastes.
Recipe: Mushroom Miso Soup
Luxurious and silky but also bright and fresh, this soup from Yewande Komolafe may redefine your expectations for rich, creamy soups. She bolsters the potato-and-cauliflower base with lemongrass and ginger, then tops the dish with a ginger-scallion relish. Ginger is the not-so-secret ingredient here, and the takeaway of this sophisticated dish is balance — and intrigue.
Recipe: Ginger-Cauliflower Soup
Julia Moskin consulted the famed bean grower and expert Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo in pursuit of a perfect bowl of black bean soup. She learned there are two key points discerning the good from the great: The beans should be boldly seasoned and timidly blended. This soup starts with dried beans and takes more effort than most, but delivers results you’ll crave again and again.
This curry- and ginger-scented butternut squash soup from the vegan cookbook author Nava Atlas has a hint of spice and a subtle sweetness from apples and coconut milk. It also has thousands of five-star ratings from vegans and nonvegans alike, and for good reason: This soup looks and tastes like sunshine on a spoon.
Recipe: Coconut Butternut Squash Soup
Beloved by more than 13,000 soup enthusiasts who have given this dish a five-star rating, this red lentil soup from Melissa Clark is a NYT Cooking favorite. It’s based on a Turkish lentil soup, mercimek corbasi, and is built largely from pantry ingredients, including lentils seasoned with cumin and tomato paste. A squeeze of lemon and chopped cilantro keep it fresh.
Recipe: Red Lentil Soup With Lemon
Often served before Nowruz, the Persian New Year, ash reshteh gets its body from beans and reshteh noodles, and its brightness from fetalike kashk and piles of fresh herbs. Ask Samin Nosrat and she’ll tell you that her recipe is suited to the season: “To me, ash reshteh signifies the arrival of spring.” If you are a strict vegetarian, you’ll want to opt for vegetarian stock or water instead of the broth suggested.
This creamy mushroom soup trumps other iterations for one obvious reason: It builds robust flavor from a mix of mushrooms, both fresh and dried. Though the recipe is actually quite simple, it’s sophisticated enough to make you feel like you’re at a fancy restaurant — while still in the comfort of home.
Recipe: Mushroom Soup
Even if you shudder at the very thought of pumpkin spice, do not discount this savory soup from Lidey Heuck: “While the combination of pumpkin and fall spices can easily veer in the direction of dessert, the addition of fresh rosemary, garlic, caramelized onions and curry powder plants this soup firmly in the savory camp,” she notes. If you’re vegetarian, you’ll want to swap in vegetarian stock for chicken stock; to make it vegan, use olive oil instead of butter and coconut milk in place of cream.
Recipe: Creamy Pumpkin Soup