By Benjamin Watson

Published on January 18, 2017

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Photography by PHUONG NGUYEN

Nothing cures the winter blues like a hearty bowl of soup, and during the colder months of the year, there are a handful of trusty dishes that I’ve come to rely on for quick and satisfying meals. After adapting the recipes for my vegetarian friends, I’ve found that I prefer these meatless versions. Each recipe should feed four, can be prepared in a single pot, and will also keep well in the fridge for reheating later. The next time the temperature drops, give the Grubhub delivery guy a break, and try one of these delicious soups.

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Photography by PHUONG NGUYEN

Grandma’s Sweet Apple Cabbage Soup

To be honest, the inspiration for this soup came from a video game I had been playing at the time. Watching my Nordic warrior warm himself with a bowl of this sweet and savory stew after an afternoon of chasing dragons, I was reminded of a similar dish my polish grandmother used to make. Goes great with pork!

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil or butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon (or 1 stick)
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 ½ – 2 lbs cabbage (red or green is fine), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 apples, sliced thin
  • ¼ lemon, squeezed
  • 6oz yogurt (greek preferred) or low fat sour cream

1. In large pot over medium heat, sauté onion with oil (or butter) until it softens.

2. Add spices and stir until fragrant (another minute or two).

3. Stir in cabbage and let cook until it softens (approx 5 minutes).

4. Fill pot half way with water.

5. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 20 minutes.

6. Add honey, salt and apple slices.

7. Continue to simmer until apples are tender (approx 30 minutes).

8. Finish with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

9. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream. 

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Photography by PHUONG NGUYEN

Spicy Mushroom Chili 

Inspired by a delicious vegan chorizo I recently discovered, I decided to try a chili using a similar mushroom mix to replace the meat. I also added coconut milk and some curry powder to keep things interesting. If you make your own cornbread, consider also using coconut milk there, too.

  • 1 ½ lb mushrooms (crimini, portabella and/or shiitake)
  • One can (15oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • One can (8oz) tomato sauce¼ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup jalapeños, diced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil or butter

1. In large pot over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic with oil (or butter) until it softens.

2. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft (approx 5 minutes)

3. Add spices and stir until fragrant (another minute or two).

4. Add tomato sauce and one cup of water.

5. Bring pot to boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.

6. Add kidney beans, jalapeños and coconut milk, then simmer for 30 minutes.

7. Top with cheddar cheese or sour cream and serve with cornbread.

 
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Photography by PHUONG NGUYEN

Rustic Potato Cheddar Soup

This chunky potato and cheddar soup is my favorite meal on a cold day. Peeling potatoes is key to achieving a smooth and creamy soup, but I like mine to be a bit more rustic and hearty. Keeping the peels on and gently mashing them by hand will yield a deliciously thick soup that is closer to mashed potatoes than purée.

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil or butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
  • 4 cups stock (chicken or veggie is fine)
  • 4 large potatoes (Idaho) or 6-8 small potatoes (red)
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1.5 cups milk (or substitute with stock)
  • ¼ lemon, squeezed

1. In large pot over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic with oil (or butter) until it softens.

2. Add potatoes and stock.

3. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are soft (20-30 minutes).

4. Using fork, mash up the potatoes in the pot and stir until potatoes and stock are combined (for a smoother soup, transfer to a blender and purée).

5. Add grated cheese, salt and milk.

6. Stir until combined.

7. Add pepper and lemon to taste.