3 Sublime Soups to Warm You Up This Fall

There is nothing like a satisfying bowl of steaming soup once the weather begins to turn cooler. Paired with a salad, grilled cheese, or crusty bread, a pot of soup is one of our favorite meals to serve. These three are easy to make, full-bodied, and delicious. Here is comfort food that everyone will enjoy -- from The Pollan Family Table to yours.

Kale, Tomato, and Cannellini Bean Soup

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This is such a hearty, healthy, satisfying soup -- and it's so tasty. Did we neglect to mention that it's also incredibly easy to cook and inexpensive to make -- and that it tastes even better the next day and the day after that? Need we say more?

(Makes about 3 quarts or 6 servings)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth
One 28-ounce can puréed tomatoes
One two-inch Parmesan cheese rind (optional if you want to make this vegan)
3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch kale, stems and tough center ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped (about 6 packed cups)
Two 15-ounce cans organic cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly translucent, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the carrots, celery, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the vegetable broth and puréed tomatoes. Add the Parmesan rind, thyme, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and kale and cook for 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally, so that the kale wilts. Discard the Parmesan rind, bay leaves, and thyme. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

Cream of Tomato Soup

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Cream of tomato soup is the ultimate comfort food especially when paired with an even more comforting grilled cheese sandwich. The wonderful thing about this soup is that it is a favorite with both kids and adults. It also looks very elegant in a beautiful white bowl served as a starter for company.

(4 to 6 servings)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
5 cups organic low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
One 15- ounce can peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed with a fork or the back of a wooden spoon
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons dry sherry
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Croutons, about 4 or 5 per bowl

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring an additional 2 minutes. Pour in the broth and tomatoes, and add the thyme. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Remove the thyme sprigs and transfer the soup from the saucepan to a food processor and puree, in small batches, until smooth. (As an alternative you can use a handheld immersion blender and blend the soup right in the pot.) Return the soup to the saucepan, turn the heat to medium-low, add the heavy cream, the sherry and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche, a sprinkle of chives, and four or five croutons. Serve hot.

Butternut Squash Soup With Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

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On a chilly fall evening, nothing beats a warm bowl of butternut squash soup. The toasted pumpkin seeds and balsamic vinegar ramp up the flavor, and because of the smooth, buttery texture of the squash, there is no need to add heavy cream.

(Makes about 2 quarts or 4 to 6 servings)
2 tablespoons raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Organic olive oil cooking spray
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup peeled and chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
7 cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 pinches ground nutmeg
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar glaze

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Spread the pumpkin seeds across a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and spray lightly with the cooking oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and carrots and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 30 seconds. Add the butternut squash and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the stockpot from the heat and allow the soup to cool. Working in batches, ladle the soup into a blender (place a towel on the top when blending to avoid hot splashes) or food processor and blend on high until smooth. Pour the pureed soup into a clean pot. (As an alternative you can use a handheld immersion blender and blend the soup right in the pot.)

Return the soup to the heat and add the nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir to blend well and simmer until hot. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top each serving with 1 teaspoon of the toasted pumpkin seeds. Add a swirl of balsamic vinegar glaze, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon for each bowl, and serve.

  • 1 A Totally Unexpected Pasta
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    LCStock2015/iStock/Thinkstock
    You'll swear there's heavy cream, or at least a generous amount of cheese, in this dish—but the thick and rich sauce actually gets its heft from avocado. The superfood also adds loads of nutrition (such as cholesterol-blocking good fat, potassium, folate and more). And if you're worried about it tasting like a bowl of guacamole-coated noodles, fear not: The other ingredients are basil, garlic, lemon and pine nuts, which give the plate a more Mediterranean than Mexican vibe.

    Get the recipe: Creamy Avocado Pesto with Toasted Pine Nuts
  • 2 Mâche, Matchstick Beets and Red-Wine Vinaigrette Salad
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    <i>The Pollan Family Table</i>
    With a nutty, grassy taste and velvet-like leaves, mache lettuce is a great way to add some variety to your salad bowl. The Pollans combine it with raw beets (there's no need to cook them if you cut them into matchstick-size pieces), which add terrific crunch and color. A creamy dressing might be overwhelming with these flavors, so instead, the recipe calls for a red-wine vinaigrette made with walnut oil. Toasted walnuts and crumbled feta complement the dressing and make the salad more filling, too.

    Get the recipe: Mâche, Matchstick Beets and Red-Wine Vinaigrette Salad
  • 3 Proof That Simple Ingredients Can Still Wow Us
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    It's hard to go wrong with a chicken dish built with garlic, olive oil, shallots, rosemary, sage, red wine and balsamic vinegar. But the Pollan family manages to take these humble ingredients to new heights with this spectacular dish. They start by cooking strips of breast and thigh meat in olive oil until a golden crust forms. A thick sauce comes together with the remaining ingredients and makes a rich and deeply flavored coating for the chicken. And while there are only a few tablespoons each of butter and oil used in the dish, the overall effect is decadent.

    Get the recipe: Pollo Balsamico
  • 4 An Old-School Side with a Health-Conscious Makeover
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    Get the recipe: Baked Accordion Potatoes with Paprika and Thyme
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    <i>The Pollan Family Table</i>
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    Get the recipe: Watercress, Fennel and Watermelon Radish Salad with Feta