Hearty soups are to fall as ice pops are to summer: We can’t get through the season without them. Now, with cooler weather ahead, it’s time to break out the slow cooker (or stockpot) and reacquaint ourselves with the comforting recipes that define fall cooking. Butternut squash, sweet potatoes and the like are once again at the forefront of our minds, and when used in warm soups, these ingredients offer a cozy complement to autumn weather. If you’re planning on tailgating this year, you’ll definitely want to prepare for chilly days spent outdoors. Next time you’re heading to the stadium, fill your thermos with one of these comforting yet healthy soups – from chunky stews to smooth vegetable bisques.
Slow-Cooker Tortilla Soup
Once you try Melissa d’Arabian’s Mexican-inspired soup, it will instantly become your tailgating companion. It’s loaded with juicy chicken, diced tomato and black beans for a filling chili-like consistency, but each bowl contains just 275 calories. Best of all, the dish practically cooks itself. Simply pile the ingredients into your slow cooker a few hours before your tailgate and it will be ready just in time for the game.
Curried Sweet Potato-Apple Soup
Sweet potato and apple is a pairing we should try more often. When combined, the mixture becomes an ideal sweet canvas for warm fall spices, like ginger and curry powder. Food Network Kitchen offers a pearl of shortcut wisdom: Rather than blending fresh apples, which would tack on more prep time, just use applesauce and apple cider vinegar.
Healthified Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
This comforting, stick-to-your-ribs recipe is deceptively healthy, thanks to the low-sodium broth and fat-free evaporated milk. If you plan on having leftovers, Food Network Kitchen advises reheating the soup in the microwave rather than on the stovetop, where the cheese will “break” or separate from the broth. Fill up your thermos and take it to go!
Rich Roasted Tomato Soup
Maybe you’re having a hard time letting go of summer, but there are a few things to get excited about — one of them being your oven, which has probably been lying dormant since May or June. This Rich Roasted Tomato Soup is one way to embrace cool autumn weather. Roasting the tomatoes concentrates their flavors, making an extra-rich, comforting soup. Top it off with some cheesy croutons for a celebratory tailgate treat.
Slow-Cooker Bean and Barley Soup
Looking for a budget-friendly soup to feed a big crowd? This combination of mixed beans, pearl barley and aromatic vegetables will do the trick — without inducing a major calorie splurge. After a few hours in the slow cooker, the barley and porcini mushrooms take on a wonderfully meaty texture that’s so satisfying to chew.
Butternut Squash Soup with Chipotle Cream
Slightly sweet, with a vaguely nutty flavor, butternut squash is the quintessential fall vegetable, and this smooth bisque shows it in the best light. The dish is elegant enough to serve at a fall dinner party, but comforting enough to fill your thermos and keep you warm on a chilly fall day spent outdoors. Top each bowl with a dollop of chipotle cream for a touch of smoky flavor.
For more fall soups to kick-start the season, check out these recipes from our friends:
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Chilled Spiced Peach Soup
Red or Green? Spiced Vegetable Soup with Lentils & Garbanzo Beans
Feed Me Phoebe: Portuguese Kale Soup with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes
The Mom 100: Avgolemono Soup
The Lemon Bowl: Red Lentil Turkish Soup
The Heritage Cook: Soul-Warming Tomato Soup with Peppers and Onions (Gluten-Free)
Domesticate Me: Five Spice Sweet Potato Soup
Taste with the Eyes: Chicken Soup with Exotic Saffron Matzoh Balls
FN Dish: It’s Almost Spoon Season: Top Classic Soups to Simmer Now