Hot & Hearty Soups for Cold Nights

As the temperatures plummet and the snow crunches beneath my feet when I retrieve the mail, my cravings veer towards soups. Hearty and filling, or light and fragrant, peasant fare or sophisticated, as long as they are hot and flavorful, soups are liable to make an appearance at my home and at yours, right?

Taking advantage of pantry staples to build your soup will ensure an ease of preparation and a quick journey to a steaming bowl of soup. Make sure your pantry is stocked with chicken stock, canned beans, and flavorings such as soy sauce, hot pepper flakes, miso paste and more. Then all you need are some fresh vegetables and herbs with your choice of protein to create a flavorful and satisfying meal.

Here are three easy and quick staple soups. They differ greatly in flavor and texture, but have one thing in common: They are sure to warm you through and through!

*Recipes ©Zehorit Heilicher ®Mideast to Midwest

Mixed Bean Soup

Hearty and filling vegetarian soup

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced carrots

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

1 tablespoon minced fresh sage

½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes, (optional)

3 cups cooked beans, or 2- 14oz cans (of your choice)

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced

6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken)

Salt and pepper

½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, (optional)



  1. In a stockpot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and then add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add to the pot the garlic, celery, carrots, thyme, sage and pepper flakes (if using) and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until slightly cooked.
  2. Add the beans, the squash, and stock and stir gently together. Bring stock to a boil, taste and season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to simmer and cover the soup.
  3. Cook the soup for 10-15 additional minutes until the squash and all the vegetables are cooked through.
  4. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with the minced parsley, if desired.

Asian chicken soup

Clear broth brimming with Asian flavors

Serves 6

8 cups chicken broth

2 stalks lemongrass, chopped

2 teaspoons garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons ginger, grated

1 medium onion, chopped

1-tablespoon fish sauce, optional

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 medium chicken breasts, roasted and sliced (or shredded rotisserie chicken)

1 cup carrot, diagonally sliced

½ cup zucchini, diagonally sliced

1 cup cabbage, sliced

½ cup broccoli florets

½ cup snap peas

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

½ cup fresh basil

1 small chilies, sliced thin (optional)


  1. In a soup pot heat broth, add garlic, lemongrass, onion, and ginger and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add soy sauce, fish sauce (if using), sliced chicken breasts and simmer about 5 minutes longer.
  3. Add carrots, zucchini and simmer until vegetables are tender.
  4. Turn heat off. Add broccoli, snap peas and cover with lid for 5 minutes.
  5. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, basil, and chilies (if using) and serve hot.

Italian style Zucchini soup with Pesto

Strong Italian flavors in a satisfying soup

Inspired by “Fine Cooking” Magazine

Serves 6

1 medium onion, diced fine

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 medium zucchinis, diced fine

3 medium summer squash, diced fine

2 cans of 14 ounce diced tomatoes, drained

3 stalks fresh basil

1-quart chicken broth, or vegetable broth

½ cup pesto sauce

2 teaspoons fresh marjoram

1 medium Parmesan rind

Salt and pepper


  1. In a large pot heat oil and sauté onion and garlic until just starting to brown. Add squash and Zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook vegetables until they soften.
  2. To the pot add tomatoes, basil and parmesan rind and broth, then simmer 5-10 minutes until squash is tender.
  3. Using tongs, remove basil stems and rind from soup, add marjoram, taste and adjust salt and pepper.
  4. Ladle soup into bowls and top with 1 tablespoon of room temperature pesto sauce.