Here on the East Coast, soup season is in full swing. In my home, I start almost every dinner meal with a homemade soup. I make dozens of varieties and make extra for next day lunches or just to stock the freezer. I mostly keep the recipes simple and filled with hearty vegetables and stocks that I already have in the house. Each of these soups can be made a day or two ahead of time and they all freeze well. Cool completely before freezing, place in an air-tight container, then defrost in the refrigerator before rewarming. Sometimes soups get thicker in the freezer or refrigerator. Simply add a bit more broth or water but make sure to add a little more salt and pepper or adjust the seasonings so that it doesn’t lose its flavor.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Rich and creamy and perfect for a cold winter night. I also make this soup with frozen cauliflower and white cheddar cheese. Serve it with thick homemade croutons or crusty, toasted bread.

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup yellow onions or sliced leeks (white parts only, well rinsed)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups pareve chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli, thawed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, milk, non-dairy creamer, soy milk or almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded medium Cheddar
  • Crusty, toasted bread or Croutons for garnish (for Passover use toasted matzo as a garnish)

In a medium pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, for 20 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring until the mixture is well blended and smells fragrant, 2 minutes. Slowly add the pareve chicken stock, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring, until tender, for 10 minutes.

Remove the pot and with a hand-held immersion blender puree soup. (Alternatively, in batches, puree in a blender or food processor and return to the pot.)

Add the cream and bring to bare simmer to heat through. Add the cheese and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted. Add the cold butter, stirring to blend.

Remove from the heat and ladle the soup into bowls. Add salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

Freezes well, defrost in the refrigerator.

Chicken Udon Soup

Serves 4

This soup is a meal in a bowl and my go-to soup all winter. It’s hearty because it includes protein, noodles and lots of vegetables but the broth is tasty and also light. It has a wonderful flavor profile and is a big hit with kids and adults. No wonder so many restaurants include it on the menu.

photo by Sang An

  • 1 (3 1/2-ounce) package fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 6 (1/4-inch) slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 ounces dried udon noodles (thick Japanese wheat noodles)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup sake or dry white wine
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup diagonally cut green onions

Remove stems from mushrooms; reserve stems. Thinly slice mushroom caps; set aside. Combine mushroom stems, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, and green onion in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Strain stock through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids.

Cook udon noodles according to package directions and rinse with cold water.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan. Add reserved sliced mushroom caps to pan, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add minced ginger and minced garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Add sake, and cook for 4 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add stock to pan. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low. Add chicken, soy sauce, honey, and salt and simmer for 2 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly heated. Add noodles back to pot to heat through.

Ladle broth, vegetables and noodles in equal portions. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon green onions. Serve warm.

Split Pea Soup with Flanken

Serves 6 - 8

Split pea soup is another winter favorite. The addition of flanken makes this soup more decadent and extra filling. The soup gets thicker as it cools and may need additional water or beef stock after sitting in the refrigerator overnight. Add as needed. Freezes well too but defrost in the refrigerator. This recipe is adapted from the Wall Street Journal.

Photo by Wall Street Journal

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds marrow bones
  • 2 pounds beef flanken
  • 2 Vidalia onions cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 ribs celery, cut into ½ -inch pieces
  • 2 pounds carrots cut into ½ -inch pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 pound green split peas
  • ½ pound barley
  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large Dutch oven, mix 1 tablespoon oil with marrow bones. Cover and roast in oven for 30-45 minutes. Remove bones from pot, but do not wash pot.

In same pot, add remaining tablespoon oil. Season flanken with a little salt. Brown flanken on both sides, about 12 minutes total. Remove meat from pot.

To the same pot, reduce heat to medium, add onions, celery, carrots and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 – 7 minutes. Add tomato paste, and stir until vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. Return marrow bones and flanken to pot. Add red wine and deglaze pan by scraping up brown bits on bottom of pot. Add split peas, barley, beef broth, bay leaves, black pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until meat is tender, about 2 hours. Remove marrow bones and bay leaves. Season with salt, dill and parsley. Stir so that meat breaks up slightly.

Ladle warm soup into bowls. Serve immediately.

Flavors of Fall Butternut Squash and Corn Soup

Serves 10

This soup is a great squash soup alternative. Corn adds creaminess and freshness and a little crunch. Feel free to also add fresh cilantro, chopped red pepper and 1 teaspoon of dried cumin. It gives it a bit more of a Southwestern feel.

Photo by epicurious.com

  • 1 (3 lb.) butternut squash, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 5 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 cups uncooked corn kernels (from about 4 ears of corn)
  • ½ cup tofutti sour cream, optional
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Optional: Sriracha or Spicy mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place squash and garlic on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and honey. Toss to coat. Roast until tender and slightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cool.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, cook onions for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Add sage and carrots and cook, stirring for 5 more minutes.

Add cooled squash and garlic and add 1 ½ quarts of stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.

With an immersion blender, puree soup. Add remaining 1 teaspoon salt, paprika, pepper and nutmeg. Add corn and stir and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Thin with more stock if necessary.

Serve warm or at room temperature, with a dollop of tofutti sour cream and parsley. Optional garnish for a little heat, add a drizzle of sriracha sauce or spicy mayonnaise.

Alphabet Meatball Soup

Serves 6

Photo By: Taste of Home

Kid fun all in one bowl plus a nutritious meal. Kids love pasta and especially alphabet pasta. Of course, feel free to use another fun and small shape to make it a more adult version of this classic soup.

  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 (32 ounce) boxes pareve or regular chicken broth
  • 1 (29 ounce) can whole tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup uncooked alphabet pasta
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a medium bowl, combine egg, garlic powder, oregano, basil, pepper and ground beef. Mix gently and shape into small balls and place on a large rimmed, aluminum lined baking sheet. Bake for 16 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through.

In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in the oil and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the broth, tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook for about 5 minutes. Drop in meatballs and reduce heat. Add salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes. Add parsley and serve warm.