As evening temperatures begin to dip with the onset of fall, there’s nothing more comforting than digging into a hearty bowl of soup or stew. Brimming with fresh and flavorful ingredients that tout a roster of nutrients and disease fighting properties, these satisfying recipes promise not only to warm your belly, but also to provide a fortifying boost to your health. So hunker down, make a pot, and get cozy with your family and friends with one of these vibrant and healthy stews.
Harvest Vegetable Soup With Butternut Squash, Farro and Kale
Butternut squash and leafy kale contribute a healthy dose of vitamins, beta-carotene and antioxidants to this soup, and their sweet and earthy flavors perfectly balance the tomato-acidity of the broth. Hearty farro, a nutty ancient grain, provides fiber and protein, while homemade or a high-quality chicken stock or bone broth (just as the doctor ordered) ensures an extra dose of immunity strengthening nutrients.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 heaping cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup semi-pearled farro 5 cups chicken stock or bone broth, plus more as needed
- 1 15-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juice 1 2–3-inch
- Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese rind
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2–3 cups coarsely chopped green kale leaves
- Finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
- Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the butternut squash and farro; stir to coat and lightly toast the farro for about 1 minute.
- Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, cheese rind, bay leaf, thyme, salt and black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the squash and farro are tender, about 30 minutes. (If the soup is too thick, add a little more stock.)
- Stir in the kale leaves and simmer until the kale brightens in color and wilts, about 2 minutes. Discard the cheese rind and bay leaf and taste for seasoning.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and pass the grated cheese for sprinkling over the soup
Kimchi Soup With Tofu and Shiitake Mushrooms
This spicy and aromatic soup is inspired by Korean kimchi jjigae, or kimchi soup. Kimchi is a traditional Korean fermented vegetable condiment usually made with cabbage. Fermented foods are an excellent probiotic and promote healthy gut flora. Umami-rich shiitakes deliver deep flavor to the fragrant broth and are lauded for their myriad medicinal properties, which include promoting healthy blood vessels, bones and immune support.
- 2 tablespoons grape-seed or canola oil divided
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, trimmed, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- Kosher salt
- 4 scallions, white and green parts sliced and divided
- 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup kimchi, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup kimchi juice
- 4 cups chicken, mushroom or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons gochugang (fermented hot pepper paste)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 5 ounces spinach, stems removed
- 8 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and lightly season with salt. Sauté until the mushrooms soften, slightly brown and begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the same pot. Add the white scallions and carrots and sauté until the carrots brighten in color and are crisp-tender, 2–3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Stir in the kimchi and kimchi juice and cook for about 1 minute, loosening any brown bits in the pot. Add the stock, soy sauce, gochugang and sugar.
- Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and continue to simmer until the greens wilt, 1–2 minutes, stirring frequently. Return the mushrooms to the soup, gently stir in the tofu, and simmer until just heated through.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the green scallions. Serve warm.
Curried Red Lentil Soup
Indian curries are recognized for their anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, thanks to being made up of a laundry list of immunity-boosting spices and aromatics, such as ginger, turmeric, coriander and cumin. Protein- and fiber-rich red lentils thicken and add satisfying heartiness to this heady and fragrant soup. Red lentils are more delicate than green and brown lentils and cook quickly. Take care not to overcook the red lentils or they will become mushy.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 1 small poblano pepper, finely diced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated
- fresh ginger
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 1 cup (8-ounce can) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped, plus more for garnish
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, 2–3 minutes. Add the carrot and pepper and sauté until crisptender, about 2 minutes more. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the curry powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne and cook for another 30 seconds to toast the spices, stirring constantly.
- Add the broth, lentils and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, over medium-low heat until the lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, lime juice and salt. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with additional cilantro and a dollop of yogurt, if desired.
Triple B Chili With Bison, Barley and Black Beans
Red meat in moderation makes a superb source of protein, vitamin B12, iron and zinc. Choose healthy, sustainably sourced meat, such as grass-fed bison. Bison is leaner, lower in cholesterol, and richer in protein and Omega-3s than beef. Barley and black beans round out the triple-B triumvirate in this hefty chili, with each ingredient contributing a healthy dose of fiber, vitamins and nutrients.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground bison or 11/2 pounds bison steak, cut into bite-size chunks
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large poblano pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2–3 chilies in adobo, chopped, with juice 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup beef or chicken stock, or more as needed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup pre-cooked black beans, or 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup pre-cooked barley
- Sliced jalapeño pepper
- Chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
- Chopped red onion
- Crumbled cotija cheese
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bison to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook the ground meat until it begins to brown, about 8 minutes, or brown the meat chunks on all sides, also about 8 minutes. Transfer the bison to a plate.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the same pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until softened, 2–3 minutes. Add the peppers and sauté until they brighten in color, about 2 minutes more. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chilies in adobo, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and paprikas and cook until slightly caramelized, about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Return the beef to the pot and add the tomatoes, stock, bay leaves, brown sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the black beans and barley and taste for seasoning. The chili should be thick. If it’s too thick, loosen it with additional stock to your desired consistency. Continue to cook over medium-low heat for about 10 more minutes.
- Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Serve with the garnishes for sprinkling: jalapeño peppers, cilantro, red onion and cheese.
More from Marin:
- Soul Farmer’s Curated Veggie Bundles Foster Creativity in the Kitchen — And Help Support Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard Project
- Marin County Resident Launches Yoi, a Plant-Based Food and Beverage Company
- Where to Find Marin’s Best Ramen
Lynda Balslev is an award-winning cookbook author based in the North Bay, a former Marin Literacy Program board member and volunteer at Lasagna Love.