Please Your Palate With These Warming, Plant-Based Soups


Ward off winter's chill with these hearty and healthy soups. Photo: lacaosa/Getty Images

According to Google, “plant-based diet” was the No. 1 trending search for diets in 2019. And that’s exactly what it is – adding more plants to your diet equals more vitality. We’re not suggesting you give up your carnivore cravings, but making plants the main attraction on your plate is definitely a good thing for you – from cancer-fighting cruciferous veggies to brain-boosting fruits like blueberries.

The challenge, of course, is how we please every palate with the ever-changing dietary choices, not just vegans, but gluten- and dairy-free eaters as well? A few cookbooks have taken the conundrum to task and, given the chill of the season, we thought rich and hearty soups would do the trick.


For the Waste-Not, Want-Not Cook

“Cooking with ingredients straight from nature does much more than just feed us,” writes Amy Chaplin in Whole Food Cooking Every Day: Transform the Way You Eat with 250 Vegetarian Recipes Free of Gluten, Dairy, and Refined Sugar. “It connects us to our environment and the seasons.” The James Beard Award-winning author says it also inspires more creativity in the kitchen, and cooking with whole foods rather than processed means a maximum nutrient value. So you’re taking in more of the stuff that’s good for you without having to eat more – and that’s good for you, too.


Photography: Anson Smart/Courtesy Artisan Books

Leftover Steamed Vegetable Miso Bowl

Serves 2

3 cups (750 ml) steamed vegetables, such as winter squash, radishes, broccoli, cabbage and/or peas (about 12 oz/340 g) – see note below

2 cups (480 ml) filtered water

2 tsp (10 ml)  finely grated peeled fresh ginger

2 tsp (10 ml) finely grated peeled fresh turmeric (optional)

3 tbsp (45ml) unpasteurized chickpea miso, mellow white miso or brown rice miso or a combination (1½ oz/45 g)

Thinly sliced scallions or fresh chives

Put the vegetables and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to ensure that the vegetables reheat evenly. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the ginger and turmeric, if using. Transfer about 1⁄3 cup (80 ml) of the liquid to a small bowl and stir in the miso until dissolved, then stir into the vegetables and remove from the heat (be careful not to let the miso boil, as that would destroy the enzymes). Divide between two bowls, top with scallions or chives, and serve.

Note: If you have greens like kale, chard, spinach or tatsoi on hand, you can stir some sliced greens into the vegetables and cook lightly before adding the miso.

Excerpted from Whole Food Cooking Every Day by Amy Chaplin (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Anson Smart. Used with permission from the publisher. 


The Crowd-Pleaser

In The Long Table Cookbook: Plant-based Recipes for Optimal Health, Toronto-based chef Amy Symington – who is also a nutrition professor at George Brown College – promises nourishing food for small and large gatherings in her own communal family dining tradition. After losing her mother to breast cancer, Symington decided to take a closer look at plant-based cooking. And how does this sound for a menu? Creamy oyster mushroom chowder, crunchy rainbow coleslaw and stick-to-your-ribs lentil bourguignon pot pie, finished with double chocolate black bean brownies. Yes, it’s all plant-based goodness, and it’s a list even a carnivore would love. And because Symington is the culinary nutrition program co-ordinator at Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto, all author proceeds are being donated to the charity to support its important social, emotional and nutritional programming. Good food for good.


Photography: Darren Kemper©/Courtesy Douglas & McIntyre.

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup

Preparation Time 15 minutes

Cooking Time 1½ hours

Tomato soup is comfort food for the heart. It is a perfect raise-your-spirits-on-a-rainy-day dish. In addition to the phytonu­trient-dense star of the show, tomatoes, this soup includes other health-pro­moting and soul-soothing ingredients, such as roasted carrots and garlic. The combination of these three antioxi­dant-rich powerhouses plus sweet onions and thyme, finished off with creamy coconut milk, feels like the power of 1,000 embraces. And in addition to soothing your soul, one bowl is a good source of potassium, calcium, fibre, iron and vitamins A, C and E.


6 servings 24 servings Ingredients
1 (796 ml) can 3 (796 ml) cans whole tomatoes, drained and juices reserved
2 large 8 large carrots, quartered
1 large head 4 large heads garlic, top cut off
5 sprigs 20 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp (30 ml) ½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large 4 large sweet onion, diced
4 cups (1 l) 16 cups (4 l) vegetable stock
1 (400 ml) can 4 (400 ml) cans coconut milk
½ tsp (2.5 ml) 2 tsp (10 ml) salt, divided
½ tsp (2.5 ml) 2 tsp (10 ml) black pepper, divided


3 sprigs 12 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
Crusty whole grain baguette slices (optional)
Homemade croutons or crostinis (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 F (205 C).

In a large roasting pan, combine tomatoes, carrots, garlic head(s), thyme and half of the oil. Season with half of the salt and pepper and lightly toss.

Roast for 45 minutes or until garlic is fully roasted.

Remove garlic from pan and allow to cool slightly. Remove the garlic skins and return the cloves to the pan.

Over medium-high heat, heat a large stockpot, then add remaining oil. Add onions and sauté until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

Pour the roasted vegetables into the pot and stir to combine.

Add vegetable stock and reserved tomato juices. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

Add coconut milk and use a hand immer­sion blender to purée until smooth. (If using a regular blender, carefully work in batches as needed and take breaks to release heat and to avoid overheating the blender.)

Stir in remaining salt and pepper, garnish with fresh thyme and serve with crusty whole grain baguette slices or top with homemade croutons (if using).

Recipes from The Long Table Cookbook: Plant-based Recipes for Optimal Health, by Amy Symington, © 2019. Published by Douglas & McIntyre. Photography, Darren Kemper©. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.



Less Fat, Less Sugar, Lose Weight is the mantra of Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, the social media darlings – 1.8 million Facebook fans and 79,000 YouTube subscribers for a start – and plant-based philosophers. After the bestselling cookbook, Bosh!, they’re back with Bosh! Healthy Vegan. The book includes 80 recipes, meal plans, and the authors’ Five Golden Rules for Eating Well – rules like sticking to a ratio of 50 per cent fruits and veggies, 25 per cent whole grains and 25 per cent proteins (legumes, nuts and seeds) and to allow yourself to be naughty 20 per cent of the time. We do like the sound of the Not-That-Naughty-Burger, however. Kind of like breaking the rules but not.

Photography: Lizzie Mayson/Courtesy William Morrow.

Spicy Lentil Soup 

High in protein, fibre and flavour while being low in fat, this slightly fiery-warming soup is a perfect post-workout meal. Lentils are incredibly good for you as well as being tasty, and they add great texture to dishes; we try to eat them as often as we can.

Serves 4

1 onion

3 carrots (about 12 oz/375 g)

Generous ¾ cup (175 ml)  red lentils

2 green cardamom pods

1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

4 scant tbsp (45 ml) tomato paste

1 tsp (5 ml) smoked paprika

½ tsp (2 ml) chile flakes, plus extra to taste

½ tsp (2 ml) ground cumin

½ tsp (2 ml) ground cilantro

4 ¼ cups (1,050 ml) hot water

1 ½ cups (375 ml) vegetable stock

5 oz (140 g) kale

1 lime

1 tsp (5 ml)  sumac

Salt and black pepper


To Serve 

4 tbsp (50 ml) plant-based yogurt

Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

4 slices whole wheat bread

Prep the vegetables: peel and finely dice the onion; peel and coarsely grate the carrots; rinse the lentils.

Put cardamom pods in the mortar. Bash them with the pestle to release the seeds, then remove the pod skins and grind the seeds.

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add tomato paste, ground cardamom, paprika, chile flakes, cumin, cilantro and 1 tsp (5 ml)  black pepper and stir for 1 minute.

Add carrots and lentils; stir for 1 minute to combine and coat. Add water and  stock; stir, bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring regularly, for 30 to 35 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Meanwhile, strip the midribs from the kale and thinly slice the leaves; halve the lime.

Add sumac to the pan and the juice of the lime; stir it into the soup. Using a stick blender, blitz the soup until it reaches your desired level of smoothness. Add the kale, fold it into the soup and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.

Taste and season to perfection with salt, pepper and chile flakes. Serve in bowls, topped with yogurt and cilantro leaves, with whole wheat bread alongside

From BOSH! Healthy Vegan by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby. Copyright © 2020 by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


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