Soup Is a Meal

Is soup a meal? (Readers of a certain vintage will recall that this question was the subject of an entire episode of Seinfeld. I think of it every time I serve soup.) My answer is, yes, soup is definitely a meal but it has to be hearty and accompanied by some filling sides, like crusty bread or a sandwich, some steamed vegetables, or the sides I’ve suggested for each of the soups featured here.  

The beautiful thing about soup is that it almost always tastes better the next day, so you can make it on a day that you have lots of time–perhaps a weekend–and serve it for dinner the following day. If the batch is big enough, you’ll even have leftovers for lunch the day after that. 

Soup is not an exact science either. You can always adjust the seasoning and spices at the end to enhance the flavour, and add liquid–either stock or water–to change the consistency. After you’ve made a new recipe a few times, you can experiment with other ingredients, maybe adding more or less of a spice, a dash of hot sauce or cayenne to ramp up the heat, or additional garlic or onion if you want to strengthen those elements. 

The soups I’ve suggested here are quick to make and hearty, with a range of flavour profiles. They’re also vegan so they’re perfect for preparing on Sunday and serving on a Meatless Monday, if that’s your thing, or if you have a flexitarian household with both vegetarians and meat eaters.

  • Butternut Squash Soup. Curry is the spice here. Serve with naan, papadams, or a side of samosas for a meal inspired by Indian cuisine. Add a green vegetable to complete the meal. 
  • Bean Soup. Chili powder and cumin anchor this soup. Serve with a side  of nachos for dipping, or make a platter of nachos loaded with cheese, peppers, green onion, and whatever other toppings you like. 
  • Spiced Lentil Soup. This soup has the consistency of stew and features cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. The recipe it is based on was called “African Lentil Soup,” since it featured flavours associated with North African cooking. If you can get your hands on some injera, it would be delicious with this soup, but crusty bread works nicely. I like green beans with this soup, but a mixed greens salad would be good too. 

Image of soup pot by Aliaksandr Siamko |

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