Picture this familiar scene: it's already evening and you haven't even thought about dinner. You're tired and it's oh-so-tempting to order takeout. No matter how you rearrange things, the Monday to Friday grind isn't easy for meal planning, whether you're worrying about your own empty stomach or a feast for your family. Thankfully, there is a food that's made for busy weeknights: soup. Pair the steaming bowls of these 12 recipes with a simple side salad or a fresh loaf of bread, and dinner is served. How satisfying.
The Slow Cooker to the Rescue
In the constant flurry of activity during nonstop days, is there anything better than a slow cooker? This slow cooker chicken and rice soup will become one of your go-to recipes, not only because the prep is easy, but also because it's unfailingly delicious.
Get Your Greens in a One-Pot Meal
Second only to slow cooker recipes are one-pot meals, and this velvety green curry-inspired broccoli and chicken soup is a definite example. Refreshing Thai flavors are weaved into every bite, and a serving of greens provides the well-rounded boost you need to feel replenished.
Lighten Your Load, Lighten Your Dinner
When days get overwhelmingly busy, it's easy to let nutrition fall to the end of your endless to-do list. An easy-to-make French lentil and kale soup will not only whisk away the stress of a weeknight dinner, but it will also be the perfect flavorful meal to fuel your body for tomorrow's hectic schedule.
For When Spring Feels Like Fall
It's strange how weather can affect your food cravings. And it's even stranger when the seasons borrow sentiments from one another, like when a gray day comes after a streak of blue skies. What do you do when spring resembles fall? You make this creamy butternut squash soup, of course.
Turn Your Guilty Pleasure Into a Healthy Indulgence
If you've ever been busy and broke, you probably know all about keeping a steady stock of ramen. And your stash probably became more of a guilty pleasure than a budgeted necessity at some point. Recreate your favorite instant dinner from scratch, but with a more upscale finish. This healthy, homemade ramen will be even tastier than the economically appealing meals of your past, and almost as quick.
For When a Busy Spring Turns Into a Bustling Summer
For those buzzing summer days when every second counts, cook a three-minute chilled avocado buttermilk soup. While the avocado makes for an incredibly smooth and buttery base, tangy buttermilk and lemon bring the refreshing finish you need after a hot and action-packed day.
A Comfort Food Without the Hassle
Many comfort foods are elaborate dishes that take hours to cook to perfection. This comfort food is as heartwarming as they come, but without the hassle: bacon corn chowder. It's delightfully tasty, and you can change the ingredient variations to make it as rich or as light as you'd like.
Spice Up a Classic
Sometimes, life gets tough and you just need a grilled cheese sandwich with a classic tomato soup to make it better. That's where this Indian tomato soup comes in. It's easy enough for when you're pressed for time; moreover, its colorful veggies and Indian spices turn a classic into an unexpected treat.
Add Some Umami to Your Dish
Miso is mystifying: Add it to anything, and it imparts an umami flavor of depth and complexity. This miso noodle soup with vegetables can be made in 10 minutes, is extremely nutritious and will give your taste buds more than they bargained for.
Get Your Sweet and Your Savory Needs Met
Your sweet tooth is at its finest toward the end of the day, and sometimes you don't have the energy to make dinner and dessert. So why not satisfy both cravings at once? Sweet potato soup is a great way to do it, so here's sweet potato soup done two ways. One is a little sweeter than the other, so you can gauge your cravings and choose accordingly.
When You Really Want to Get in Your Comfortable Clothes
Egg drop soup might seem like a fancy restaurant dish, but really, it's ideal at home. Make an easy egg drop soup in your sweatpants when the day is through, and be thankful that you can eat this well in your own space.
It Always Comes Back to the Slow Cooker
When in doubt: slow cooker. It really is like a magic pot. And it's also great for leftovers. Don't know what to do with last night's ham? Simple. Here's a hearty slow cooker white bean beer and ham soup that doesn't let you waste a single scrap.
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Christina Nicole is an editor for a health career website. She writes everything from health industry news, to food and craft articles, to longform profiles. She has published narrative nonfiction and writes fiction in her free time. Christina is currently co-authoring a career development book.