Journal, Fall/Winter Issue 2018

3 Winter Soups to Soothe Your Soul

To me, soup is pure happiness and the ultimate comfort food. I feel good eating it,and I feel good making it. Chopping vegetables to simmer on the stove is one of my favorite ways to spend a cool fall afternoon. As I cook a beautiful soup from scratch, I satisfy my creative soul, and I know I’m making something good for my body as well.


An easy creamy broccoli soup made with light coconut milk, so it's a healthier (also vegan) version of the soup I loved eating as a kid.


Creamy Broccoli Soup




  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 large leek (2 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 medium head broccoli (just of 4 cups florets/stems)
  • ½ Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup light coconut milk plus ¼ cup extra for garnish
  • 3 cups loosely packed spinach
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, more to taste
  • Red pepper flakes


1. Slice the white and light green parts of the leek into rings. Using a strainer, rinse the leeks thoroughly.

2. In a large pot over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the leeks, crushed garlic cloves, and a few generous pinches of salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the leeks are soft, about 5 minutes.

3. Chop the broccoli, stems and all, into coarse florets and add them to the pot. Stir and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the white wine vinegar, then add the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer to a blender (you can work in batches if you need to). Blend until smooth. Add the spinach and blend again. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding a bit of fresh lemon juice to brighten it up a bit if you like.

5. Garnish with a drizzle of coconut milk and olive oil. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired.


This kale and fennel vegetable soup is my go-to winter recipe. It's hearty - filled with carrots, fennel, and white beans. It's wonderful for dinner, and the leftovers taste amazing for lunch the next day.


Kale and Fennel Vegetable Soup




  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 sprigs, fresh thyme
  • 1 cup chopped savoy cabbage, sliced
  • 1/3 cup dry white whine
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 inch piece of parmesan rind
  • 1 cup cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup chopped fennel fronds
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, a few pinches of salt and pepper, and cook for several minutes until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.

2. Add the white wine, stir and let the wine cook off, about 1 minute.

3. Add the broth, parmesan rind, and white beans. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the lemon juice and taste and adjust seasonings. Discard the parmesan rind and garnish with fennel fronds.

Who doesn't love a hot bowl of noodles in the winter? This shiitake and spinach soup is made with an umami-rich miso broth, healing shiitake mushrooms and a healthy few handfuls of spinach.


Shiitake and Spinach Soup


Serves 4 as a side or starter


  • 2 cups (8 oz) shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp white miso paste
  • 4 oz soba noodles
  • 2 cups (4 oz) packed baby spinach
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1½ tsp rice vinegar
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt


1. Prepare the mushrooms by removing the stems and cleaning with a damp cloth or paper towel. Then slice the mushrooms.

2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the mushrooms and a few pinches of salt, and stir. Let the mushrooms cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger, and cook 1 minute more. Add the water and bring to a low simmer.

3. Into a small bowl, scoop some of the simmering water and add the miso paste, stirring until it dissolves, then add it back into your soup pot. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

4. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Prepare the noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain and rinse the soba noodles.

5. To the soup pot, add the cooked noodles, spinach, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Stir until the spinach is wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Note: Add a poached egg or tofu cubes to make it a meal.

Copy & Recipes by Jeanine Donofrio / Photography by Constance Mariena

Jeanine Donofrio is a cook and food photographer whose blog Love & Lemons inspired a cookbook of the same name. You can find out more about Jeanine and her recipes at

This story originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of The Inspired Home Journal, titled “Not Just Chicken Soup for the Soul.”

Featured Products


Even more Fall/Winter Issue 2018 articles for you


Get on the list to stay up to date on everything The Inspired Home.