We admittedly have a soft spot for creamy soups (think silky butternut squash, velvety cauliflower, and smooth black bean), but when it's below freezing outside we start craving stews on the heartier end of the spectrum. Soups so thick that it seems like your spoon will get stuck the moment you dive into them. From a vegan-friendly lentil stew topped with crispy potatoes to a slow-cooker chipotle chicken tamale stew, these soups are so good they'll make you want to grab a spoon and stay in tonight.
Ahead are seven hearty soup recipes for when it's just too cold.
This creamy white bean soup proves that a hearty stew doesn't necessarily have to contain meat. "The base is really simple (onions, carrots, celery, garlic, herbs, chili) with a focus on the earthiness of the beans," says Laura Wright of The First Mess. "Kale is added for a touch of green at the end, and lemon lifts everything up to make it sparkle."
With meaty mushrooms, hearty lentils, and salty potatoes, you'd never guess this baked lentil stew is vegan. "The dish is meaty and filling, but light and balanced too," says Laura. "Aside from a few garnishing rosemary sprigs, it's comfortingly beige—but in a way that makes you feel good when you're done eating, trust me."
Calling all carnivores: This spicy white bean beef stew is about to become your go-to comfort food. To make this recipe a bit healthier than your typical beef stew, "I added a ton of carrots (mainly because carrots cooked in red wine are maybe one of my favorite things ever), lots of protein and fiber-rich white beans, and a few large handfuls of greens," confesses Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest.
"If there is one soup I would happily eat for the rest of my life, no questions asked, it's this soup," says recipe creator Sarah Fennel of Broma Bakery. "It's comforting and hearty but not like creamy and too rich." Spiced with ginger, cloves, turmeric, and red curry paste, Sarah's aptly named Dope Soup is just too tasty to resist.
Looking for a quick recipe that comes together in under an hour? Enter this quick kale and mushroom pho. "The secret is toasting your spices and infusing your broth. This is KEY to making an extra flavorful pho broth," says Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. "I found that even after just twenty minutes of cooking the broth tasted delicious."
Add this flavorful butternut squash lentil soup to your arsenal. "The tomato and cumin in this stew add wonderful warmth, while the butternut squash helps to lighten the heavier lentils, says Sarah of Broma Bakery. "And, of course, lentil's best friend is thyme (at least I think so), so adding in the herb imparts a lovely freshness."
This slow-cooker chipotle chicken tamale chili is "the perfect warming [soup] to cozy up to after a day of playing in the snow," says Tieghan. Complete with rich red enchilada sauce and hearty cornmeal to mimic the signature masa flavor of tamales, this recipe is sure to become a cold-weather favorite.