Hearty soups are a way of life and can easily deliver all the goodness and nutrition your body needs. A good bowl of soup can be a meal in itself—whole and complete. I have cycles where I crave and literally eat only soup. I listen to my body and feed it what it needs when it needs it. If you eat bread, serve your soup with a generous piece of warm rustic bread, sourdough, or even walnut-raisin bread.
SOUPS BY THE SEASON
One of the best things about hearty soups is that they are very versatile and über seasonal. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold outside; if it’s winter or summer. You can easily modify a basic potage to fit the season by using fresh, local ingredients and adjusting texture and temperature accordingly.
If your kids act out every time they hear the word soup, make it creamy, silky and mild—adding and highlighting one or two of their favorite food items.
Read Related: Estefan’s Sopa de Chicharos (Split Pea Soup)
Speaking of seasons and honoring the cycles of nature, here are my top winter recipes.
This soup can be made with other winter squashes such as pumpkin, butternut, or calabaza. My favourite is acorn squash—mild in flavor and smooth in texture…it does very well in any kind of soup. The squash seeds can be washed, dried, and toasted or baked on a large baking sheet to serve on top of the soup, or to snack on. Delicious either way!
ACORN SQUASH SOUP
2 small acorn squash, halved, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cups low sodium, organic, chicken or vegetable broth
2 TSP coconut oil
¼ TSP ground turmeric
¼ TSP ground cayenne pepper or chipotle
¼ TSP ground cinnamon
1 TSP fennel seeds
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup buttermilk
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium saucepan, bring the squash and broth to a boil.
- Lower heat. Simmer covered for about 15 minutes.
- Strain the soup. Reserve the liquid.
- In a blender or food processor, puree all solids with 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over low heat, cook the spices in the oil until aromatic. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the puree and 1 cup of the reserved liquid. Bring to a quick boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Stir in the buttermilk, and season to taste.
- Serve with squash or pumpkin seeds on top, and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.
Traditionally, this Brazilian favorite uses beef stock but since I am not a meat eater and prefer milder flavours, I use vegetable stock instead. Now, the uniqueness of this soup lies in its texture: it should retain some without being completely silky and smooth.
4 TBSP unsalted butter, ghee or coconut oil
1 medium yellow or white onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium tomato, ripe, concassé, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
½ small dried hot red pepper, crushed
2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium, organic if possible
½ TSP raw honey or beet sugar
¼ TSP ground cumin, optional
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the vegetables including the hot red pepper.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes. Add the squash, broth, honey, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a quick boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 20-30 minutes or until the squash has disintegrated.
- You can either puree it in a blender or food processor, or serve with mozzarella or parmesan cheese on top.
This soup is a wonderful vegetarian option. Personally, I prefer to serve it as a main course with either quinoa topped with roasted vegetables on the side, and roasted pumpkin seeds or chia seeds sprinkled on top.
CURRIED SQUASH SOUP WITH GREEN D’ANJOU PEARS
2 medium acorn squash, halved, seeded, cooked (either boiled or baked), pulp scooped out
¼ cups extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
4 TSP mustard seeds (black or yellow)
1 TBSP cumin seeds or fennel seeds
3 TBSP curry powder
2 organic D’Anjou pears, quartered, cored, cut into 1-inch cubes, splashed with the juice of 1 lemon or lime to prevent oxidation
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
10 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 TBSP fresh ginger, finely chopped
4 cups organic vegetable broth, low sodium
Lime juice, to taste
Sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste
- In a medium saucepan, stir together the oil with the seeds until fragrant. (Careful: they pop and they burn easily.)
- Add the cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the pears, squash, onion, garlic, ginger, and broth.
- Bring to a quick soft boil. Lower heat. Simmer for 20 minutes or until pears and vegetables are soft.
- Working in batches, in a blender or food processor, puree the soup.
- Return to the pot, and season with a splash of lime or lemon, salt and pepper.
- Serve with chopped walnuts and/or a dollop of creme fraiche, Greek yogurt or tzatziki.