5 Easy Soups for Winter

Warm up on chilly days with these flavorful, healthy recipes.

Soups and stews are perfect cold-weather comfort foods — flavorful, nourishing meals that are filled with nutrients.

“Soups are the perfect vehicle for supporting your health,” says Marti Wolfson, Culinary Nutrition Coordinator of the Chef Peter X. Kelly Teaching Kitchen at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital. “You can pack a lot of nutrients into a bowl by using a variety of seasonal vegetables, herbs, and spices.”

Many soups feature a variety of healthy ingredients, such as vegetables and beans, so there’s no denying that they pack a nutritional punch. But there’s another bonus: They’re simple to make and convenient to reheat.

“The key is to build flavor with aromatics like onions, garlic, ginger, or herbs,” says Wolfson. “For pureed soups, try roasting the main ingredient, such as tomatoes in a tomato soup or butternut in a squash soup. The caramelization that takes place in roasting will deepen the flavor. There’s nothing like a big pot of simmering soup on the stove to feed all the senses.”

Wolfson shared with Health Matters some of her favorite soup recipes for winter.

Tomato and Cannellini Bean Stew With Spinach

Serves: 6-8


1 sweet onion, medium diced
2 celery stalks, medium diced
3 carrots, medium diced
2 tablespoons olive oil, or enough to cover the bottom of the pot
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups diced vegetables such as butternut squash, zucchini, or potatoes
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
2 cans (28 ounces each) of water or vegetable stock
1 cup quinoa
1 can (15 ounces) of cannellini beans
1 can (15 ounces) of chickpeas
2 cups kale, stems removed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan and slivered basil for garnish (optional)


1. Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes or until softened.
2. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for about 1 minute.
3. Add the 2 cups of vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and the water or stock, raise heat to high, and bring to a boil.
5. Lower the heat to medium-low and allow the soup to gently boil, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
6. Add the quinoa and cover for 15 minutes.
7. Add the kale and the canned beans (and more water if needed). Bring back to a gentle boil and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes or just until the kale is tender. Serve with grated parmesan and basil.

Zucchini Soup

Serves: 4


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups water
Raw zucchini, julienned for garnish


1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened, 7 to 8 minutes.
2. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cook until the zucchini is very soft, about 10 minutes.
3. Let the soup cool slightly. Working in two batches, puree the soup in a blender until it’s silky-smooth.
4. Return the soup to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Serve it either hot or chilled, garnished with julienned zucchini.

Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Serves: 6


2 tablespoons olive oil
5 to 6 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Granny Smith apple, skin on and chopped
1 cup carrot, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups vegetable stock
1 can (15 ounces) full-fat coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cups)


1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Mix the butternut squash, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Spread the squash out so it lays evenly. Roast for 30 minutes.
2. While the squash roasts, heat the remaining olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion to the hot pot. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until onions are just translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper, and stir until the garlic is fragrant.
3. Add the apple, carrot, and a generous pinch of salt to the pot and stir well to incorporate into the onions and garlic. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the apples start to soften.
4. Add the curry powder, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the pot, stirring so all the vegetables are well coated with the spices. Cook for about a minute until the spices are very fragrant.
5. Add the vegetable stock and coconut milk. Bring the soup to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, add the squash, and blend into a smooth and creamy puree using an emersion blender in the soup pot, or transfer to a blender and blend in batches. (Let the soup cool slightly if you are using a food processor or blender.) Season to taste and serve.

Cozy Chicken and Rice Soup

Serves: 4-6


1 pound chicken breast or chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/3 cup long grain rice, uncooked
6 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup water
Sea salt
Ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, dill, or parsley, or a combination


1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Place the chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Season both sides with 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Roast for 25 minutes. When the chicken is done, shred it with two forks and set aside.

2. Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot with olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion, carrots, and celery with a pinch of salt, and sauté until lightly softened and golden, about 6 to 7 minutes.

3. Add the rice, bay leaf, chicken broth, water, salt, and pepper to taste. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered at a simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.

4. Add the shredded chicken back to the soup. Add herbs, season to taste if needed, and serve.

Lemony Red Lentil Soup

Serves: 4
Adapted from Melissa Clark


3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of chili powder or ground cayenne
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of half a lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high until hot and shimmering. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.
2. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper, and chili powder, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
3. Add broth, water, lentils, and carrots. Bring to a simmer, then partly cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
4. Using an immersion or regular blender, purée half the soup (let it cool slightly if you are using a regular blender), then add it back to the pot. The soup should be somewhat chunky.
5. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with olive oil, if desired.

Additional Resources

  • Find more recipes in our Soup Cookbook.

    Watch virtual cooking classes with Chef Marti Wolfson here.

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