10 Protein-Packed Soups and Stews for Fall

Soup is a category of comfort food beloved all year round, but these one-pot wonders are especially beloved when we’re feeling chili…chilly.  

At Meatless Monday, we truly fawn over soups and stews. Why? First, soup is a cost-effective meal that can feed a large group inexpensively. Key soup ingredientsdried legumes, root vegetables, noodles, spices, broths, bouillonare relatively cheap and offer some of the best value in the supermarket. Another good thing about soups is that it takes around the same time to prep and cook a quart of soup as it does a gallon.

Another advantage of soups is that they’re good for you. A majority of soups and stews, the heavy cream variety being the exception, are low in calories, saturated fat and sugar, and if they include a bean, pea, or lentil, then they’re also a good source of protein and fiber. But the singular best quality of the soups is that you can let your creativity run wild. See a new herb or spice or funky vegetable or can of beans in the supermarket? Well, it will almost certainly find a happy home in your next pot of soup or stew.

For this Meatless Monday, we’ve assembled a list of our favorite protein-packed soup and stew recipes. The selections cover a range of culinary genres, from North African to Mediterranean to Central American to classic comfort. Use these recipes as jumping-off points to cook up your own creations, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Because, let’s be honest, it’s hard to screw up soup.

Black Bean and Farro Soup

All the flavors of a burritobut in a bowl. This hearty soup is an inexpensive dinner option that uses black beans, farro, and jarred salsa. Add some fresh cilantro (if you like it) and some seasonings to complete this meatless meal.

For the Black Bean and Farro Soup recipe, click here.

Golden Chickpea Noodle Soup

Loaded with seasonal vegetables like butternut squash, parsnips, golden beets, and rainbow carrots, this autumnal soup is a good source of protein thanks to the addition of two cans of chickpeas. When all these vegetables cook down together, they create a rich broth with a deep and savory flavor.

For the Golden Chickpea Noodle Soup recipe from Sara Tercero of Better Food Guru, click here.

Hearty White Bean and Millet Soup

Never used millet? This little grain is a healthier option than white rice and adds a nice texture to soups. This recipe uses a bunch of Mediterranean ingredients like white wine, crushed tomatoes, roasted garlic, and fresh parsley, giving the broth an Italian flare.  

For the Hearty White Bean and Millet Soup recipe from Bean A Foodie, click here.

High-Protein Creamy Detox Soup

Clean out your system and refuel it with the proper mix of vitamins and minerals. This detox soup is loaded with everything: zucchini, pumpkin, cabbage, fresh spinach, bell peppers, broccoli, chickpeas. With a laundry list of ingredients, this well-stocked soup has a little something for everyone.

For the High-Protein Creamy Detox Soup recipe from Chef Jana Pinheiro, click here.

Lazy Lentil Soup

Lentil soup is a great way to fortify your diet with some plant-based protein. This “lazy” version is light on the prep work but heavy on flavor and texture. Using only a few ingredients, this recipe can be completed from start to finish in under an hour, which is pretty fast for a big, satisfying soup. 

For the Lazy Lentil Soup recipe from Stefanie Sacks, click here

Mexican Fava Beans Soup

The fava bean is an underutilized legume. When cooked it develops a smooth and creamy texture. This Mexican fava bean soup, sopa de habas, incorporates bold flavors like pasilla and serrano chiles, leeks, cumin, and fresh cilantro and is sure to take your tastebuds on an adventure.

 For the Mexican Fava Bean Soup recipe Broke Bank Vegan, click here.

Moroccan Split Pea Soup

North African flavors come together in this rich and creamy split pea soup. Peas are an excellent source of protein and fiber and go great with a smoky blend of pepper, cumin, paprika, and hot pepper. 

For the Moroccan Split Pea Soup recipe from Moroccan Zest, click here.

Peanut Stew with Squash, Kale, and Chickpeas

Peanut butter in stew? Although maybe an unusual idea for Western palates, peanut stew is a common West African comfort food that’s a harmonious blend of salty-savory-richness. A bounty of vegetables play very nicely with big flavors like fresh ginger, garlic, and jalapeño and warm spices like cumin, coriander, and paprika. This one is a must try. 

For the Peanut Stew with Squash, Kale, and Chickpeas recipe from Dani Smith of Sweet and Sorrel, click here.

Poblano and White Bean Chili

Chili is the ultimate stew; it’s thick, smoky, spicy, and will keep you full (at least until dessert). This chili recipe uses white beans and hominy for heft and freshly-toasted spices for a pungent taste and aroma that will warm your soul no matter the temperature outdoors. 

For the Poblano and White Bean Chili recipe from Maria of Bean a Foodie, click here.

Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup

When cooked and blended, sweet potatoes add a velvety texture and subtle sweetness to soups, but these tubers also contribute important nutrients, like vitamin A and manganese. Paired with protein-rich white beans, this is a great way to start a meal on a cool fall night. 

For the Sweet Potato White Bean Soup recipe from Healthy with Nedi, click here.

Click here for more Meatless Monday recipes. When posting pictures of recipes to your social media network, tag @MeatlessMonday use #MeatlessMonday to show the plant-based community your creation.