Easy Comfort Food Soups That You Won't Believe Are Vegan

Vegan and comfort food aren't necessarily two dining concepts we would couple together — especially now that the seasons have changed and we've started to favor cooked-hot dishes over fresh-cold ones. But, that's a short-sighted assumption, because vegan recipes are certainly not exclusively made of leafy greens and raw veggies. There's a whole slew of filling, comfort-food quality recipes around that also happen to be dairy-free and vegetarian. The kinds of dishes that are just begging to be whipped up during the oncoming chilly months. And what's one of our favorite affordable and easy cold-weather food staples of all time? Soup.

Here to prove to us that meat and dairy-free soups can still be hearty winter feasts are three rich recipes from Vanessa Croessmann's aptly-named cookbook, Awesome Vegan Soups. From creamy butternut squash bisques to chunky sweet potato chilis and more, scroll on for your fill of three vegan winners to keep you warm all fall and winter long.

Photo: Courtesy of Vanessa Croessmann.
Roasted Apple Butternut Squash Soup
Makes 2½ qts

Ingredients
½ butternut squash, seeds removed
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 apples, peeled, quartered and cored
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Pumpkin seeds, for garnish

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the butternut squash in half. Place one of the halves in the fridge for later use. Remove the seeds from the other butternut squash half and set aside. Rub 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil over the apples and butternut squash and place them on the lined baking sheet. The squash should be placed face down. Roast the apples and squash in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes until the squash is tender. Remove the squash and apples from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes.

2. While the apples and squash are cooling, heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil in a large stockpot, add the diced onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic to the stockpot and cook for another minute until the garlic becomes fragrant.

3. At this point, the squash and apples should be cool enough to handle. Add the apples to the pot and scoop the butternut squash flesh with a spoon into the pot. Discard the tough butternut squash skin. Pour the vegetable broth and nutmeg into the stockpot and bring to a boil. Purée the soup using an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender, until smooth.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot. Garnish with pumpkin seeds.

Recipes excerpted from Awesome Vegan Soups by Vanessa Croessmann, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017.
Sweet Potato Chili
Makes 3 qts

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
⅛ cup paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1 green bell pepper, diced, plus more for garnish
1 lb. chopped sweet potatoes
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
4 cups tomato purée
4 cups water
Vegan sour cream
Fresh cilantro
Chili peppers
Chives
Scallions
Avocado, sliced

Instructions
1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes until it begins to soften. Add the garlic, spices, salt, bell pepper and sweet potatoes and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato purée and water to the stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the chili thickens and the sweet potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork. Season the soup with more salt to taste.

3. Serve the chili hot with your favorite chili toppings such as sour cream, fresh cilantro, chili peppers, chives, scallions and avocado.

Recipes excerpted from Awesome Vegan Soups by Vanessa Croessmann, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017.
Broccoli “Cheddar” Soup
Makes 1 qt

Ingredients
2 tsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cups broccoli florets
1 cup Vegan Cheddar Cheese
Sauce
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper

Instructions
1. Heat the olive oil in a pot and add the onion. Cook the onion over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until it starts to become translucent. Reduce the heat and add the broccoli and cheese sauce. Stir to coat the broccoli with cheese sauce before adding the water and vegetable broth. Bring all the ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the broccoli is cooked.

2. Purée the soup using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Recipes excerpted from Awesome Vegan Soups by Vanessa Croessmann, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017.
Awesome Vegan Soups by Vanessa Croessmann, $16.89, available at Amazon.