A favorite at Cowgirl Creamery’s Sidekick Cafe in San Francisco, this soup is a grilled cheese sandwich’s best friend. Its success depends on really good canned tomatoes and long, slow simmering, so that all the flavors meld.
Recipe: Sidekick Tomato Soup
We left the soup chunky with a clear broth, but you could easily purée it to create a smooth soup. Just don't skip the avocado mixture, as it makes a refreshing contrast to the beans and spice.
A popular Japanese winter dish, warm soba with toppings is just the thing for lunch on an overcast day. The broth is made with dashi, a staple soup base whose delicate flavor comes from dried bonito tuna flakes and seaweed.
Recipe: Warm Soba Noodle Bowl
A far cry from the store-bought packages, real ramen starts with amazing broth. Chef Kolin Vazzoler, of the late, lamented Shimo Modern Steak in Healdsburg, California, simmered his for 12 hours. Our simplified version of his dish doesn’t take nearly that long, but it’s still over the top, taste-wise.
Classic. Simple. Comforting. Nothing beats a good bowl of miso soup, and this recipe is sure to become one of your go-tos on rainy days. We used edamame and tofu, but you could substitute cooked meat and most any vegetable you have on hand.
Recipe: Miso Soup with Tofu and Nori
Some of corn’s best partners—medium-hot chiles, chorizo, and basil—join up in this simple dish. It’s substantial enough to call a chowder, but light enough for summer.
Recipe: Spicy Chorizo Corn Chowder
This lovely soup is practically spring in a bowl. To make it heartier, scatter quartered cherry tomatoes and croutons on top. Snap peas often have a fibrous string that runs down the pod's straight side; to remove it, snap off the stem end and pull down sharply.
“When I serve this soup to my 7-year-old,” says Sunset reader Cristina Gonzalez, now of Fredericksburg, VA, “we talk about how his Mexican abuelito [grandfather] and I ate it growing up in L.A., and how he’s eating it now.” She changed out the original beef for turkey. The flavors are very gentle, making this a great family dish.
Recipe: Meatball Vegetable Soup
This 5-ingredient recipe leaves you free to spend the rest of the evening out of the kitchen.
While the pot simmers, brush some slices of country bread or levain with olive oil and toast them, to serve with the hot soup.
Recipe: Chard and White Bean Soup
Minty oil and toasted almonds highlight the sweet taste of peas in this soup. It’s especially good with fresh peas from your garden, but still delicious with pre-shelled ones from the store.
Recipe: Fresh Pea Soup with Mint
Use either soft, cold-smoked salmon (also called lox or Nova-style) or firmer, hot-smoked salmon (also called kippered), or offer both for an interesting mix.
The variety of the vegetables, two kinds of legumes, and the Italian trick of cooking a bit of parmesan rind in the soup for added flavor create a palate-pleasing minestrone miles beyond the bland bean-and-pasta version so often served. The soup is flexible too; add your favorite vegetables or use whatever is bountiful in your garden this harvest.
Recipe: Vegetable Minestrone
Guests can sip this festive, zesty soup from small cups or glasses. Pimentón de La Vera is a Spanish paprika that adds a smoky, sweet intensity, but Hungarian or regular paprika work too.
Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper–Tomato Soup
After one of her favorite restaurants refused to divulge the recipe for its velvety butternut squash and apple soup, Brie Tennis came pretty close with her own version.
Recipe: Brie’s Butternut Squash Bisque
George Morrone, executive chef of Redwood Park in San Francisco, uses fresh chanterelles in this soup, but it's also delicious with common button mushrooms.