Hearty and Healthy Vegetarian Chilis, Soups, and Stews
It's surprisingly easy to make really delicious meals without adding any meat to the mix. Vegetables are so tasty that they can easily stand on their own, and if you add flavor boosters and extra protein in the form of beans, lentils, cheese, or mushrooms, you have a delicious and satisfying meal. (For any recipes that call for chicken broth, substitute vegetable stock for a meatless meal.)
There are a few ingredients that really boost flavor, and dried chiles are one of them. The Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup pictured here uses ancho chiles to add extra smoky flavor and gentle heat. Another wonderful flavor booster is fresh ginger, and it's used in our Gingery Beet Soup. Not only is this soup a stunner, the earthiness of the beets marries beautifully with ginger.
A great way to add a little heft to a vegetable main dish is with beans, grains, or legumes—or even some of each. Our Vegetarian White Chili steals from classic Italian dishes, using white cannellini beans instead of the usual pinto, kidney, or black beans, and features a handful of cornmeal, which helps to thicken it up a bit. Golden Dal Soup with Gingered Tomatoes brings golden-hued vegetables together with pink lentils for a satisfying vegetable dish; we like it's made extra-pretty thanks to a topping of sautéed cherry tomatoes seasoned with ginger.
Cheese and mushrooms are both a great way to add a bit of umami to vegetable soups. Our recipe for Customizable Vegetable Soup simmers with a Parmesan rind, a great trick for adding stealth flavor to a vegetable broth. Or try the Super-Grain Soup with Watercress and Mushrooms for a double-umamai-whammy, which comes in the form of both cheese and mushrooms.
Try a few of these comforting vegetarian meals for chilly nights when you need a healthy yet cozy dinner.
Vegetarian White Chili
White cannellini beans give this chili its name. Have fun with the toppings. Here we use radishes, avocados, and jalapeños, but chopped red onions and a dollop of sour cream are always tasty additions.
Creamy Broccoli and Spinach Soup
Adding spinach at the very end of cooking give this soup it's bright vibrant green color. Pretzel nuggets make for a fun garnish, but they can be replaced with croutons if you'd like.
Minestrone with Cabbage and Anelli
Vegan Sweet Potato Chili
Black beans and sweet potatoes together make a filling and satisfying vegan main course. The chili is topped with avocado for a fresh, creamy addition and crushed tortilla chips for crunch.
Gingery Beet Soup
This glorious, colorful soup may win over non-beet lovers with its lively ginger flavor. Pro-tip: Wear food prep gloves when peeling and chopping the beets to spare your hands from being dyed red from the juices.
Split Pea Soup with Spinach and Barley
An upgrade on the usual split pea soup, this one gets the addition of spinach and an unusual garnish: barley. Add a swirl of yogurt and you have a perfect supper a chilly night.
Golden Dal with Gingered Tomatoes
Dal is often considered a dip, but here it's turned into a delicious soup packed with golden-hued vegetables. It is topped with a mound of halved cherry tomatoes that have been cooked quickly with ginger and shallots.
Customizable Vegetable Soup
This is a great recipe to use when you need to clean out the vegetable bin. You can mix and match just about any vegetables you'd like to flavor and color this delicious soup. Adding a parmesan rind to the soup is a great trick for adding surprising depth of flavor.
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew
Super-Grain Soup with Watercress and Mushrooms
A powerhouse soup this, look for bags of supergrain blend in the grocery store, several companies make them and they often contain the tiny powerhouse, quinoa. Use any blend of fresh mushrooms you like for this recipe, but if shiitakes are included, be sure to trim the tough inedible stems off before cooking.
Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
This classic cozy soup puts a few broccoli florets aside to be broiled and used as a delicious garnish. It's served with cheese toasts for a serving of cheesy comfort.
Kale, White Bean, and Farro Soup
Kale and white beans are a match made in heaven. Stir in farro for added texture and nutrition.
Test Kitchen's Favorite Tomato Soup
Lentil Soup with Crispy Kale
Lentils and mushrooms and kale—this is a powerhouse soup, a vegetarian meal sure to satisfy, and just the thing for a cold winter day.