Busy lives require good time management, and make-ahead meals can tip the scales towards better nutrition when time is tight. The soups and stews that follow benefit from sitting for a day in your fridge so flavors can meld. They can also be frozen, so you can make a pot of soup or stew and freeze it in single serve containers for lunch or dinner on the fly. Better yet, cook cooperatively with a friend and turn a chore into a social event. Share the grocery bill, cook and eat a good meal together and split the remaining booty. This is a great way for busy young professionals to save time and money while still nourishing their social lives and their bellies. ALWAYS make sure you cool soups down before refrigerating. NEVER put hot soup in the fridge with the lid on tight; doing so will make a soup go sour because the heat has nowhere to go. If you don't have time to cool a soup to room temperature, just cover the pot most of the way leaving a good sized air hole for vapor to escape.
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This easy recipe for roasted pumpkin soup can be made with sugar or Cinderella pumpkin (pictured), Hokkaido squash, Red Kuri, Kabocha, or any other deep orange, dense squash. Squash and pumpkin are rich in nutrients, especially beta-carotene, and very nourishing to the spleen and stomach. Roasting the vegetables creates a rich and more complex flavor, and actually makes for an easy soup: all you do is add water to the roasted veggies. You can add a dab of Romesco Sauce when serving to give a bit of extra richness to the soup, but we like it as is! If you're looking for a spicier and more complex flavor, try Thai Style Pumpkin Soup.
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This classic, low fat, vegan butternut squash and apple soup recipe is rich in beta-carotene, and is strengthening for the spleen and digestion. It is perfect for grounding and centering the nervous system and is appropriate for any time of day, including breakfast. If you are not fond of sage, use rosemary or thyme instead.
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This recipe for millet and vegetable soup hits the spot on a cool day, and can be a one-pot meal. It is an excellent savory breakfast option. You can vary the vegetables according to what you have on hand, or your mood, but make sure you always use the base of carrot/celery/onion. Toasting the millet adds another layer of flavor to the soup.
Another popular soup with grain in it is Mushroom Barley Soup, and this vegan version is strengthening for digestion and excellent for building the blood.
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Mild curry adds anti-inflammatory and digestive spices to this hearty, comforting soup. Add greens to the pot or serve them on the side along with cornbread or millet for a delicious, easy supper. For a soup with a little more kick, try Curried Red Lentil Soup with Jalapeno. Middle Eastern Red Lentil Soup is lighter than most bean soups, with an interestingly complex flavor of cumin and coriander enhanced by a touch of lemon when serving.