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Everyone should have a great vegan soup recipe under their belt for those crisp autumn nights when you want something to warm your belly and soul. I even love soups in the summer, but they're absolutely necessary in all the months with an "R" in the name.
Before I was a vegan, the only way I made soups was by opening a can and heating it on the stovetop. It was quick and simple and I thought it was reasonably healthy. The thing is, most canned soups are absolutely loaded with sodium, excess sugars, and preservatives. Some scientists warn about BPA and other environmental toxins leaching from the aluminum into our food.
Once I tried making soup for the first time, I realized a few things:
1). It's truly not that hard to make. It usually requires me to sautee some vegetables, add spices and vegetable stock, bring the pot to a boil and then lower to cook thoroughly. Though it takes longer than popping the lid off a can, it's really easy.
2). It's insanely cheap to make your own soup because you end up with so much more than you do when you buy canned foods. If you calculate out the costs of buying the ingredients and divide by the number of servings you get, you will be totally shocked. You can split those servings into containers for later lunches or freeze the soup for the next time you want something warm and fresh.
3). And, to top it off, homemade soup just tastes so much better. You control every ingredient, it's all fresh, and there are no preservatives.
I love chili on a cold fall or winter night, and I have never missed the meat in it. You can certainly add some veggie burger crumbles if you like in this vegan soup recipe. This sauce is hot in the back of your mouth, but isn't full of the vinegary and oniony flavor that sometimes accompanies heat.
Don't worry about adding molasses-- it doesn't make it sweet, it just balances the heat of the peppers and it gives is a slightly smoky flavor. The sauce is thick and flavorful. Yum!
Saute the onions in olive oil with a dash of salt, until translucent and soft, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and saute for another 5 minutes, and then add the garlic. Cook for one more minute.
Add the peppers, the rest of the spices, molasses, and saute until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Then add the tomato paste and stir to combine.
Add water, lentils, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir, cover, and reduce to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes to combine flavors.
Add kidney beans, salt, and pepper to taste. Then cook for another 15 minutes to combine flavors.
This vegan soup recipe is adapted from many that have cream added to them, and even though it obviously has no milk products, it is completely rich, creamy, and delicious.
Sautee the onions in olive oil with a dash of salt until brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for one more minute, then add curry, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash and cook until just tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Add the apple and cook for a few more minutes, until the apple is slightly softened.
Add the stock and water mixture, return to a boil, cover the pot, and then reduce to a simmer for about 25-30 minutes until the vegetables squish when you touch them with the spoon.
Use an immersion blender or transfer to a regular blender like the Vitamix until the mixture is smooth, but still slightly chunky.
Serve this vegan soup recipe warm. Delicious!
When you go vegan, you often feel like you are ultimately going to sacrifice eating some things, and I would bet that split pea soup is one of those foods. It seems somehow inherently non-vegan, but that isn't the case.
Even without ham, this soup is hearty, creamy, and filling. If you miss the flavor of ham, add some vegan bacon bits to your bowl, and make sure to add a bit of smoke flavoring at the end of the cooking process.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion, cooking until translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add celery, carrots, and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
Add bay leaf, coriander, basil, thyme, parsley, salt, barley, split peas, and stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and then reduce temperature to low. Simmer for 1-2 hours, until the peas are soft.
Taste and add miso and smoke, to taste. Remove the bay leaf.
Using an immersion blender (or pouring everything into a Vitamix), blend until smooth and creamy, or to the texture you like.
Makes about 8-10 servings. The flavors meld and this vegan soup recipe tastes even better the day after cooking.