Easy Ham and Lentil Soup for One Person

This hearty ham and lentil soup is just the thing for a chilly winter day.  It’s adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook. I’ve naturally cut down the servings (from 8 to 4) and made a few other minor changes.  It’s pretty easy to prepare, and only requires a single pot. And you know how I hate cleanup! Funny, I enjoy the cooking part, but not the mess afterwards.

Since even four servings means a lot of soup for one, let the soup cool, and then divide it up into smaller containers and freeze it.  That way, a week or two from now, all you have to do is defrost an individual serving. Add a salad, a chunk of bread, or some cut up fruit and you have a quick meal. And once you’ve made the soup, there are no more pots to clean up.

The original recipe called for bacon, but having none, I used some kielbasa and a ham hock instead.  The kielbasa and ham hock get cooked along with the soup, which I think adds more flavor.

Also, the cookbook was written before the age of stick blenders.  So it instructed you to use a food processor or a food mill to puree the soup. Too much work! And too much mess. The immersion blender makes all that much easier, faster, and a lot less work to clean up.

Ham and Lentil Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Category: Small Batch Soup Recipes

Cuisine: American

4 portions

ham and lentil soup


  • 1 T cooking oil*
  • 4 inch piece kielbasa, cut in coin size slices (about 1/4 pound)
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 ham hock
  • 1 3/4 C chicken stock
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 1 small bay leaf**
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 T (a bit over 1/3 C) brown lentils
  • salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a 3 quart pot.
  2. Add the kielbasa, and brown for a few minutes.
  3. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, and ham hock, cover the pot, and cook on low for about 25 minutes, until the veggies are soft.
  4. Pour in the stock, add the thyme, bay leaf, pepper, and the lentils.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the pot. Simmer for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are soft and cooked through.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and the ham hock.
  7. Separate the meat from the ham hock bone and return to the pot. Discard the bone.
  8. Use a stick blender to partly puree the soup (you want a half and half mixture of whole and blended lentils.
  9. Taste the soup, and add salt or pepper if needed.


*I used kielbasa that was a mixture of turkey, pork, and beef. If you use pork kielbasa you won't need the oil.

**Put the bay leaf in a tea ball for easier removal.

Ham and Lentil Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Use bacon instead of the kielbasa and ham hock; cook that first, then remove it and set aside, when the soup is finished, crumble the bacon on top
  • Use crumbled pork sausage, or some diced ham instead of the kielbasa and ham hock
  • Add a cup of diced tomatoes
  • Chop up a scallion and add that to the soup

Tools for Making Your Soup

Cusinart Stick Blender

I have an older version of this, and it is still going strong after years and years of use.  It’s great for milkshakes, pureeing soup, and making smoothies.  And it’s much easier to clean than my big blender. In fact, I hardly ever use the blender anymore.  Instead of cleaning a large appliance, all you have to do is pop off the shaft and wash that. Then wipe the top with a damp sponge. Unlike mine, this newer version is cordless, so it’s a lot easier to maneuver, particularly in a small space (like my kitchen). It also comes with a whisk attachment.

Chantal Soup Pot

I had no idea how much I needed a pot like this until I got one as a gift. The soup pot I got with my cookware set is far too large, and I hardly use it.  This one is great for small batches of soup, chili, even popcorn. The glass lid makes it easy to see when the corn starts to pop. And it’s a lot easier to handle than a full size soup pot (or a cast iron Dutch oven).

More Lentil Recipes

red lentil carrot soupRed Lentil Carrot Soup

Cumin, garam masala, and ginger add warmth and spice, while a touch of red pepper flakes give this soup a kick.


easy lentils and rice recipeEasy Lentils and Rice Recipe

It may win no prizes for looks, but this recipe is healthy, really tasty, and easy to prepare. And, it features a surprise ingredient you may not expect.


single serving lamb and lentil soupLamb and Lentil Soup Recipe

Exactly one serving of  warm, hearty soup with tangy tomatoes, rich lamb, lentils, and fragrant garlic.


Mushroom Barley Soup Small Batch for One Person

Mushroom barley soup is right near the top of my “comfort food” list.  I remember my grandma making it when I was little (and she made the best soups).  Sadly, I don’t have grandma’s recipe. She was a taste, toss, and stir sort of cook). Nothing was ever written down! My mom still mourns not having her recipe for pickles.

However, this Tori Avey recipe comes close.  Grandma wouldn’t have used fancy mushrooms, so neither did I, but you can add them if you like.

Grandma was from Poland, and as Tori Avey points out, mushrooms were a popular food there because you could dry them and store them for later use.  Barley also grew well in that climate, and could be dried and stored for the winter when other foods were less plentiful. Mushroom barley soup was popular throughout the whole country, but since observant Jews had dietary restrictions (no mixing milk and meat), there were two versions of this soup. One with just vegetables (which could be eaten with sour cream) and one with meat (more on that below).

There’s no meat in this recipe, but I did use chicken broth.  If you want a vegetarian version, you can substitute mushroom broth or vegetable stock instead.

As is, there’ s not a lot of fancy ingredients, and it’s just the thing for a chilly fall or winter day when all you want to do is snuggle inside a warm blanket in front of a fireplace. And you haven’t got a fireplace!

Also, since I’m lazy about pot cleaning, I simplified it. Only one pot! Not two or three. And I made fewer servings, because 8 is too much!

Mushroom Barley Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Category: Small Batch Soup Recipes

Cuisine: Polish

4 bowls

mushroom barley soup


  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped (the baby ones are fine, just chop them in half)
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Heat the oil in a stock pot or Dutch oven.  Add the onion and cook until wilted and soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots and mushrooms, spreading the mushrooms in one layer. Cook for two minutes, then flip the mushroom/carrot mixture and cook another two or three minutes until the vegetables start to caramelize and brown.
  3. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Now, add the chicken broth, barley, and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for an hour until the barley is soft, but still chewy. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Mushroom Barley Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • use vegetable or mushroom stock instead of chicken
  • add upscale dried or fresh mushrooms, such as shiitake or chanterelle
  • try it with flanken (short ribs, or spare ribs cut sideways with little oval bones)
  • deglaze the pan with a bit of sherry or white wine before adding the broth

More Mushroom Recipes

pork tenderloin with mushrooms and sour creamPork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Sour Cream

Prepared with a rich, creamy sauce boosted by the bite of Dijon mustard and piquant capers —both of which complement the pork beautifully. Fancy enough for guests. Simple enough for an ordinary Tuesday.

chicken with mushrooms and tarragonSingle Serving Chicken Recipe with Tarragon and Mushrooms

Tastes like you went to a fancy French restaurant, without the bill at the end of the meal. It’s ready in only 30 minutes. Sop up the buttery rich sauce with some crusty bread.

chicken mushroom skillet recipeChicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe

The perfect answer to “I’m hungry and I want food now!” No marinating, no leaving overnight. And no separate sauce to make. The entire dish comes together in a single pan.

pasta with broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausagePasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

When you’re hungry, pasta is your friend. Meaty mushrooms, sweet chicken sausage, and earthy broccoli are a great combination. Don’t have those exact ingredients? Mix and match with spicier sausage, asparagus, more bell pepper, or sugar snap peas.

Quick Caldo Verde Soup


Caldo Verde is a traditional Portuguese soup that’s made in one pot. And, it takes about half an hour to cook. It’s filling, spicy, and great for cold weather. The usual way to make this is with kale and linguiça, which is a garlicky pork Portuguese sausage. Except, I don’t like kale.  Some use collard greens instead, or cabbage. I didn’t have cabbage, but I did have spinach.  As far as I’m concerned, that works! It’s still a bitterish green and it takes less time to cook too.

This is good right away, but like many soups, it’s even better after it sits for a day or two.  I’ve cut the recipe from six servings to about 2 or 3, depending on how hungry you are.

It does come with a few minor cooking decisions.  You can cut the greens up roughly, or chop everything up into fine ribbons.  And, you can either purée the soup, or leave it as is. I went with rough chopping and skipped the purée this time, mostly because I was feeling lazy.  The last thing I made was pizza and I somehow got the tomato sauce everywhere: the stove, the floor, the cabinets, the sink.  I’ve had enough cleanup to last me for a while, so I didn’t want to clean one extra thing (even a stick blender).

Also, if you can’t find the Portuguese sausage, any other garlicky sausage will do just fine.

Quick Caldo Verde Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: Portuguese


caldo verde soup


  • 2 tsp butter
  • 4-5 oz garlicky pork sausage, sliced (about a four inch piece)
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2-3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped


  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven.
  2. Add the sausage and brown for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the sausage and set aside.
  4. Add the onions and the garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Add half the olive oil as necessary to keep the veggies from drying out.
  6. Add the chicken broth and the potatoes.
  7. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil.
  8. Turn the heat down and let the soup simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
  9. Add the spinach and the cooked sausage and cook for a minute or two until the spinach wilts.
  10. Add the second teaspoon of olive oil and serve.

Caldo Verde Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Use a mixture of baking potatoes (Russett) and Yukon Gold potatoes for different textures
  • If you don’t have the linguiça, try chorizo or andouille, merguez, or any garlicky sausage you have; even pepperoni in a pinch
  • Try it with cabbage (or kale) if you prefer
  • Skip the sausage entirely, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth and make it vegetarian. If you want it vegan, use olive oil instead of butter.

More Sausage Recipes

creole cabbage and sausageQuick Creole Cabbage and Sausage

Fragrant with creole spices and mustard for a spicy bite, this meal is ready in fifteen minutes. Recipes for the mustard and spice mixture linked in the post.


lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetablesLamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables

A whole meal all by itself.  The spicy lamb sausage is mellowed by carrots, eggplant, and cinnamon.


Polish sausage with cabbage and potatoesOne Pot Polish Sausage and Cabbage with Potatoes

This dish only requires a few basic ingredients. However, it’s packed with flavor from rich sausage, braised cabbage, and sweet carrots. One pot!

Mulligatawny Soup Recipe

We tend to think of “fusion” foods as a new idea: Asian/Cuban, Mexican/Jewish and so on and so on.  The truth is people have been mixing and matching cuisines ever since we started exploring (or on a less positive note, colonizing).  The bright side is that exposure to new spices, flavorings, and cooking techniques can be a springboard for creative new dishes.  Mulligatawny soup (which means pepper-water) is one such “fusion” food.  It’s a mixture of Indian Tamil and British cooking. The Tamil cuisine brings the spiciness and the British added the meat.

This particular version of the recipe is adapted from Foodaholic.  Her recipe uses red lentils (which I didn’t have). However I asked her and she said lots of recipes use rice instead. I had that, so rice it is!

I don’t have garlic paste, so I took a garlic clove and smashed it to smithereens. Just chop it up finely and then swipe the flat of a wide knife over it.  Or, if you don’t mind a bit of extra cleanup, put it in a mini-chopper or a garlic press.

Finally, I used a chicken thigh, rather than chicken breast (which she uses because of picky kids). I think the chicken thigh has a better, richer flavor and I don’t have to worry about pleasing fussy eaters.

I did follow her lead in only using one pot. I can’t stand extra cleanup!

If you want the soup creamier and more elegant, remove part of it from the pan and puree the rest with a stick blender. If not, just cook it another 10 minutes for a more rustic texture.

This will make about three servings of soup. Eat one right away and save the rest in separate containers for another day.

Indian Mulligatawny Soup

Category: Small Batch Soup Recipes

three servings

mulligatawny soup

A combination of British and Indian cuisine that's became a staple. It's got Indian spiciness with British meat and potatoes.


  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 chicken thigh
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed into a paste
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 4-5 red chopped tomatoes (about 1/4 of a 28 oz can)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • generous grinding of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Garnish
  • 1 heaping T Greek yogurt or coconut milk
  • Optional
  • Fresh chilis or coriander leaves


  1. Add the oil to a Dutch oven and heat on medium high
  2. Brown the chicken thigh in the oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for a short time (about a minute).
  3. Add everything else except the lemon juice to the pot (potatoes, carrots, bay leaf, tomatoes, and spices go in all together). Add water to cover, about 2 cups.
  4. Turn the flame down to medium low and cover the pot. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables get soft.
  5. Take the pot off the stove and turn off the burner.
  6. When the soup has cooled, remove the chicken thigh and the bay leaf.
  7. Cut the chicken up into pieces and throw away the bay leaf.
  8. For a smoother soup
  9. Pour out half the soup into a large bowl. Puree the rest in the pot with a stick blender. If you chose the smoother soup, put it all back in the pot and reheat it if necessary.
  10. For a chunkier soup
  11. Skip the puree, and put the soup back on the burner to cook for another 10 minutes.
  12. Ladle the soup into a bowl and add the reserved chicken and the lemon juice. Garnish with yogurt (and/or chilis or fresh coriander leaves).

Mulligatawny Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • If you like spicier food, add some chopped fresh green chilis
  • Top the soup with yogurt or try some coconut milk to counter the heat
  • Add some curry powder
  • Put in some chopped apple for sweetness

More Indian Chicken Recipes

royal chicken in yogurtIndian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

A name fit for royalty, but anyone can eat (and prepare this dish easily). Nothing to chop, just mix up some spices, add yogurt, and simmer.


Jewish chicken curry chitarneeJewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

I bet you weren’t expecting the words “Jewish” and “Curry” to go together. But they do. Not spicy, but rather warm, comforting, and aromatic.


curried chicken soupCurried Chicken Soup

Delicious soup with very little effort. It only takes an hour to make and uses frozen or long-lasting veggies.  No chopping either (other than a carrot). I did say low-effort. 🙂


one person chicken curryEasy Chicken Curry Recipe

A few basic ingredients get together and bring you dinner in minutes.  Only one pot too!



Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

I’ve been fighting the creeping crud and nothing helps fight germs better than a big bowl of soup, preferably spicy soup.  This Chinese chicken noodle cabbage soup is perfect. The spicy broth clears the sinuses, the garlic, ginger and chili sauce have antibiotic qualities, and it tastes good too.

I adapted the recipe from a recipe I found on Epicurious. It’s not just smaller quantities though. My version has less sugar, and is a bit spicier (I wanted the heat more than sweetness). Gotta fight those germs!  Also, since I didn’t have tahini handy (and wouldn’t want to buy it just for this), I ditched that and used peanut butter instead.  I didn’t have seasoned rice vinegar either, so I substituted the regular kind. Their recipe cooked the chicken by boiling it in the soup.  I decided I wanted more complex, caramelized flavor, so I cooked it with the cabbage.  And, since I didn’t have sherry I reasoned that since sherry was essentially fortified wine, that some red wine and a drizzle of honey would work just fine. It did!

This is enough for one generous serving, or two smaller ones, depending on how hungry you are.

Chinese Chicken Cabbage Noodle Soup

Category: soup

Cuisine: Chinese

one serving

chinese chicken noodle cabbage soup

Spicy chinese chicken cabbage noodle soup fragrant with garlic, chili garlic sauce, and scallions. Not too hot and not too sweet.


  • 1 large chicken thigh (or 2 smaller ones)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sherry (or use red wine and a drizzle of honey)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (divided)
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • 1 tsp peanut butter*
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 12 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 5-6 leaves cabbage, shredded or chiffonade**
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 scallion, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 oz long noodles, with water to cook


  1. Cut up the chicken thigh into strips and put them in a small bowl.
  2. Add the soy, sherry, and half the sesame oil to the bowl with the chicken.
  3. Let sit about 20 minutes.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the garlic, peanut butter, ginger, rice vinegar, and chili garlic sauce.
  5. In a large, sturdy pot (a Dutch oven will work nicely), heat the rest of the sesame oil, and the canola oil on medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and the scallions.
  6. Cook for five minutes until the cabbage softens slightly.
  7. Add the chicken mixture and cook another 3-5 minutes.
  8. Add the broth, increase the heat, and bring the soup to a boil. Once it's boiling, turn the heat down a bit and let the soup simmer for five minutes.
  9. While the soup is coming to a boil, fill a saucepan with water and heat to boiling. Once it's boiling, add the noodles and cook 5-8 minutes until al dente.
  10. Once the noodles are done, drain them in a colander.
  11. Pour the soup into a large bowl, and add the noodles.


*If you use unsweetened, natural peanut butter, add a little sugar or honey

** How to chiffonade:

Take the cabbage leaves and stack them on top of each other. Then roll them up like a cigar. Cut them across (the short way) so you end up with long, thin ribbons.

Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Add some sliced mushrooms, broccoli, or snow peas to the soup (when you cook the cabbage and scallions)
  • Substitute bok choy for the cabbage
  • Want it spicier? Drizzle the finished soup with some sriracha or more chili garlic sauce
  • Go with the original recipe and use the tahini instead of the peanut butter
  • Like it less spicy?  Use sriracha in the recipe instead of the chili garlic sauce


Tools and Ingredients for Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup

Huy Fong Sauce Chili Garlic

This is great for lots of recipes: put it in Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce, chili citrus chicken thighs, sesame noodles, or add a kick to scrambled eggs or meatloaf. Or, mix it into mayonnaise for chili aioli.

Nakano Rice Vinegar

This is just about essential for Asian cooking. Use it in this recipe, or for an Asian cole slaw. Baste meat with it, or combine it with some soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and scallions for a quick dipping sauce.

Kadoya Sesame Oil

Another essential for Asian cooking, great for salad dressings, shrimp, or teriyaki. Use it in Chinese cucumber salad, or saute it with some spinach.


More Asian Recipes

Sichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

Pasta e Fagioli Soup (Small Batch)

I should probably refer to this pasta e fagioli soup as “blizzard soup.” The forecast called for up to 20 inches of snow (though we only got seven).  I was determined to keep the stove going and get a batch of hot soup. Besides, there is more snow coming tomorrow!

Therefore, I deliberately made this the “hard” way.  First, I soaked the beans overnight.  Then I cooked the beans and sort of followed a recipe from The New York Times.  I cut it in  half and added pancetta (don’t know why they left that out).

I even made my own vegetable stock.  If you spot potatoes and carrots in the photo, it’s because they were in the homemade vegetable stock recipe .   Neither one is traditional for pasta e fagioli soup, but I left them in anyway. Why toss perfectly good veggies? I didn’t include them in the recipe here though.

You can use vegetable stock, or chicken stock if you prefer. I would  have made chicken stock but I didn’t have enough chicken bones. And I certainly wasn’t going out to get some in a blizzard!

Don’t be put off by the long prep time on this recipe.  That includes soaking the beans overnight. You can speed this up by using my quick soak method. That cuts the soaking time down from 8 hours to only one.

If you’re really in a hurry, and don’t have the time or patience to soak and cook the beans for an hour or more, use a can of white canellini beans instead. Make the rest of the soup, then add the can of beans.  Just cook them long enough to heat through.

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

Prep Time: 8 hours, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Total Time: 11 hours, 35 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: Italian

three or four servings

pasta e fagioli soup

A small batch of pasta and bean (pasta e fagioli) soup. Just the thing to keep your home (and stomach) warm on a cold day.


  • Beans
  • 1 C dried white beans
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to taste
  • Soup
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half
  • 1 1/2 ounce pancetta (chopped), or you can buy it pre-chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (or about 1/3 tsp dried)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup pureed canned tomatoes
  • pinch sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Bouquet garni (bay leaf, 2 Manchego rinds, thyme spring, or 1/4 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 cup elbow macaroni


  1. Beans
  2. Pour the soaked beans, along with the water, into a large pot (a Dutch oven will do nicely).
  3. Add the onion and turn the heat to medium. Bring it to a soft boil (bubbling slowly,).
  4. You may see foam rising to the top. You can remove that with a spoon (it's not harmful, it's just not attractive).
  5. Add the garlic and the bay leaf (you can put the bay leaf in a tea ball so it's easier to remove).
  6. Simmer the beans for 30 minutes.
  7. Add salt to taste and let the beans cook another hour. Check to see that they're soft. If not, cook another half an hour.
  8. Taste the beans and add more salt if needed. Take out the bay leaf. Drain the beans with a colander over a bowl. Keep the broth, you'll use it for the soup.
  9. Soup
  10. Heat oil in dutch oven. Add the onion and cook for five minutes or until the onion softens.
  11. Add the rosemary, garlic, and pancetta.
  12. Cook for a minute. The scent should start to waft through your kitchen.
  13. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper
  14. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
  15. Add the bean broth you set aside, and the stock.
  16. Add the bouquet garni, Manchego rinds, and more salt.
  17. Turn the heat to medium-high until the soup boils. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer for half an hour.
  18. Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes, until it's al dente.
  19. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed.
  20. Remove the cheese rinds and serve.


Use dried beans if you have them, and have the time. If not, this works with canned beans too. If you use canned beans, drain the can first. Place the beans, water, and the remaining ingredients from the bean recipe in your pot. Simmer for 30 minutes. Then move on to the rest of the soup.

You can tie the bouquet garni ingredients together (if you use fresh herbs). If not, put them in a tea ball. It makes it easier to remove them.

Substitutions and Variations for Pasta e Fagioli Soup

  • Save time and use canned beans
  • Try different kinds of beans: pinto, kidney, or cranberry
  • Use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock
  • Use bacon or pork fat instead of pancetta (I even used soppressata salami once)
  • Add one potato (cut into chunks) to the soup
  • Chop up a handful of spinach and add that with the pasta

More White Bean and Soup Recipes

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Easy Italian Wedding Soup

White Bean Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes


Curried Chicken Soup

Fight the cold weather (and winter germs) with some curried chicken soup.  If you’re sick, the hot soup and the spiciness of the curry will help cut through the congestion and make you feel better!  If you’re healthy, you can enjoy the full flavor!

This soup is pretty low maintenance, there’s not a lot of active work involved. Just chop the veggies, add the stock, rice, and chicken, and let it simmer. And, for soup, it’s ready fairly quickly. It only takes a little over an hour to cook.  I’ve been fighting a lingering cough, so I needed soup. Specifically soup with curry or something spicy to cut through the congestion and fight those germs! So I turned to the Silver Palate cookbook and made curried chicken soup.  I think it’s working.

The original recipe says to use peas and defrost them first. I didn’t have any peas handy, so I used broccoli instead.  Also, in this case, I don’t think that defrosting first is really necessary. Frozen veggies cook fairly quickly, unless they’re all stuck together in the box.

Making this soup is much easier (and less messy) if you have a stick blender. Just put the blender in the soup, press the button, and puree it. Otherwise, you’ll need to strain it, put the solids in a standing blender or food processor and then add some cooking liquid. Full instructions are in the recipe.

If you have the hand blender, this soup requires very little effort.  Cut up the vegetables, add the stock, rice, and chicken, and just let it cook.

I’ve cut the original recipe in half, so it makes 2-3 servings instead of 4-6.  Eat one right away and freeze (or save) the rest for another day.

Curried Chicken Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: Indian

two to three servings

curried chicken soup

A slightly spicy curried chicken soup with carrots.


  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (about one medium) onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 chicken thighs (bone-in)
  • 1/4 C long grain white rice
  • 1/2 C half-and-half*
  • 5 ounces (about 2/3 C) frozen broccoli
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Once the butter is melted, add the onions, carrots, and the curry powder. Stir that around to combine everything.
  2. Next, reduce the heat to a low flame (or temperature setting). Let the vegetables and curry cook on low for about 20 minutes. Stir the mixture every once in a while so it doesn't stick and cooks evenly.
  3. Add the stock, chicken, and the rice. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it's boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer (it should bubble occasionally). Let it cook for about 25 minutes until the rice and the chicken are cooked.
  4. Carefully remove the chicken (use tongs) and set it aside. Let it rest for 10 minutes until it's cool enough to handle. Once you can touch it, cut it up into small pieces and keep it separate on the cutting board for now.
  5. If you have a hand blender, stick it in the pot and puree the soup. If not, strain the soup into a bowl and put the solids into a blender or food processor with about one cup of liquid. Blend until smooth, adding more cooking liquid if necessary. Then put everything back in the pot.
  6. Add the half-and half to the pot (if using), along with the diced chicken. Discard the bones, or save them for stock. Add the broccoli (or peas) and heat the soup for 15 minutes until the vegetebles are cooked.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


*It's supposed to be creamy chicken curry soup. I forgot to add the cream. It was delicious without it. You can also add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt on top.

More Curry and Curried Soup Recipes

Easy Chicken Curry Recipe

Easy Canned Tuna Curry

Indian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples


Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

There’s nothing better and more comforting than hot soup on a chilly, blustery day. This curried butternut squash soup with apples is perfect for cold fall or winter weekends when squash are plentiful. I had quite a bit of squash left over from making roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squash, so this was the perfect way to use it up.   I have adapted the recipe from The Silver Palate cookbook, with a few tweaks.

First, I cut the recipe in half, as the original recipe made 6 large servings.  Plus, I only had most of one squash left (not two!).  I also substituted apple cider for the apple juice called for in the recipe. This gives it more flavor than just plain apple juice.

One more note, I recommend that you use a mild curry in this recipe (not something super-hot and spicy as it will overwhelm the flavor of the squash and the apples). I have a West Indian curry blend which is more savory than spicy; it works perfectly. If you can’t get the curry, try a teaspoon of ginger and a teaspoon of brown sugar.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Category: soup

Cuisine: American

three to four servings

curried butternut squash soup with apples

An easy soup that's perfect for chilly fall or winter days.


  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 C yellow onion (about one medium-large), finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons mild curry powder (preferably West Indian)
  • 1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 1/2 C apple cider
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a three quart dutch oven or soup pot.
  2. Add the chopped onions and the curry powder. Cover the pot and let the onions cook, on low heat, about 20 minutes.
  3. Peel the squash and cut it into chunks. You don't have to be too neat about this as you're going to puree the soup. The easiest way is to take a large, sharp knife and cut the squash in half (width-wise) and then into smaller hunks. Make sure you scrape out the seeds and discard them. I find a grapefruit spoon works nicely.
  4. When the onions are soft, add the stock, the chunks of squash, and the apple to the pot.
  5. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook (with the cover partially off the pot), until the apples and squash are soft. This should take about half an hour.
  6. Turn off the flame and remove the pot from the heat.
  7. Now, take a stick blender and puree the soup until it's smooth.
  8. Add the apple cider and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tools and Ingredients for Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Cuisinart  Immersion Hand Blender

cuisinart hand blenderThe original recipe called for straining the soup, then putting it through a food mill or food processor, and then pouring it back into the original pot.

Doable, but a pain in the neck, and it means two more things to clean.  The immersion blender is much easier to use, and a lot easier to clean up too.  You just pop off the end and wash it.


Chief West Indian Curry Powder

Flavorful, but not too hot, this curry blend comes straight from Trinidad.  It works well with butternut squash, a quick chicken curry, or over some cauliflower or roasted potatoes.

Oxo Swivel Peeler

Butternut squash is notoriously hard to peel, but this gadget makes the job a snap. Using this peeler, peeling a squash is no harder than peeling a carrot.

The little hole in the pointed end is great for removing the eyes from potatoes, or taking out bruised spots from veggies.  Oxo was originally designed for people with arthritis, so the handle is soft, round, and easy to grip.

More Butternut Squash Recipes

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

Butternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One Person

Roasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

Split Pea Soup Recipe with Ham Hock

Nothing beats a bowl of split pea soup with ham hock when it’s cold outside. This recipe for Dutch split pea soup has ham, split peas (of course), and bacon. Add some crusty bread, or a sandwich, and you’ve got lunch.

The original recipe came from the NY Times Cookbook, but I’ve changed it a bit.  For one thing, it made up to 10 servings (which means one person would be eating soup for a very long time)!  This recipe is only for four servings. Just enough to enjoy it without feeling like you are drowning in split pea soup!

That recipe also called for celeraic (which I never have) and salt pork. Salt pork is fine, but I found it worked really well with bacon (preferably Trader Joe’s no nitrate bacon).

It also freezes well, so you can save some soup for later.

Split Pea Soup with Ham Hock and Bacon

Prep Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: Eastern European

4 servings

split pea soup recipe with ham hock

Split pea soup with ham and bacon.


  • 1 cup dried green split peas
  • 32 oz. cold water
  • 2 slices diced bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small bay leaf (or half a large one)
  • 1 ham hock (or use a ham bone)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • generous grinding of pepper
  • Optional: 1/4 C chopped leek, one carrot (sliced), one frankfurter


  1. Wash the peas under cold water. Sort through them to remove any stones that may have gotten mixed in. Put in a large pot and add the water. Let stand overnight. If you're in a hurry, use my quick soaking method for the split peas.
  2. Cook the bacon in a skillet for five minutes, until browned. Add the onion (and leek or carrot if using), and cook the mixture for another 10 minutes. The vegetables should be soft.
  3. Add the vegetable/bacon mixture to the pot with the split peas. Add the bay leaf (I like to use a tea ball for this so it's easy to find again), salt and pepper to taste, and the pig's knuckle (or ham bone). Cover and bring to a boil (slowly). Once it comes to a boil, turn down the heat, Let the soup simmer for two hours. If it gets too thick, add half a cup of water.
  4. Once the ham hock (or bone) is tender, remove it from the soup. Run it under cool water (so you can handle it), then shred the meat and set it aside. Throw away the bone. Fish out the bay leaf (or just remove the tea ball) and discard that too.
  5. Using a hand blender, puree the soup.
  6. If you don’t have a hand blender, use a standard blender with a towel over it. Why the towel? So the soup doesn’t fly in your face and all over the room. If you take the plastic cup out, cover the hole with a towel, and blend, the steam can escape and the soup stays put.
  7. split pea soup in blender
  8. If you’ve got the hand blender, all you have to do is immerse it in the pot and press the button. It’s easier and there’s less cleanup.
  9. Put the meat back into the soup and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve hot.


The prep time assumes you use the quick soak method for the beans.

Put the bay leaf in a tea ball so it's easier to remove.

Substitutions and Variations for Split Pea Soup Recipe with Ham Hock

  • the original recipe called for 1/2 C diced leek (great for flavor, but not something I usually have in the fridge); if you use it, reduce the amount to about 1/4C.
  • cut up a frankfurter or a chunk of keilbasa, cook it and add it to the soup
  • add a carrot for a bit of sweetness
  • top with croutons
  • cook some extra bacon, crumble it, and top the soup with it
  • add freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • add a parmesan or manchego cheese rind to the soup while it’s simmering

Soup Pots

T-fal A92279 Specialty Stockpot 8 Quart
This pot is non-stick inside and out (just the thing for split pea soup). That also makes it easy to clean. The glass lid has a vent in it, so it’s less likely to spill all over the place. It is tall though, so if you’re short, this may not be for you.

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Covered Stockpot, 6-Quart

Stainless steel outside, with an aluminum sandwich for faster, even heating. And it’s a great value too. Great for pasta, chili, and, of course, soup.

More Split Pea Soup Recipes

Split Pea Soup  This is adapted from a Julia Child recipe

Crock Pot Split Pea Soup  A slow-cooked version of split pea soup.

Split Pea Soup with Rosemary  I confess, I never tried it with rosemary. Sounds interesting though.

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup  This has dry mustard, a potato, and balsamic vinegar.

Soup Cookbooks

Recipes for some of the world’s favorite soups (and a few new ones): beef and barley, sweet potato, cucumber, and spinach with feta.

New England Soup Factory Cookbook
Your favorite soups (like beef and barley, hot and sour, and butternut squash. Plus some brand-new ones you may have never heard of – how about spinach, feta, and pine nuts? Or eggplant parmesan?


The Best Soups in the World
247 recipes gathered from around the world by a James Beard award winning cook. There’s California chilled peach soup, Tanzanian black-eyed peas and coconut soup, Chayote soup from Nicaragua, and Tuscan white bean.

Don’t be scared by the exotic names and places – he also provides lists of places to buy the ingredients at reasonable prices online (if your local store doesn’t stock them).

Sunday Soup: A Year’s Worth of Mouth-Watering, Easy-to-Make Recipes

A year of soup – arranged by season. You’ll find Sweet Potato Soup with Orange Creme Fraiche for fall and Asparagus Soup with Tarragon Cream for spring. There’s even a cold cucumber soup with salmon and dill for summer.

More Soup Recipes

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

Red Lentil Soup with Carrots

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Image of soup in blender with towel thanks to joelk75

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

It’s creeping crud season, and while I’m not quite sick, I’m definitely not feeling quite well either. I was browsing through Pinterest and spotted a spicy beef noodle soup recipe. I was about to save it when I realized I already had one! So I made that instead.

The beauty of this is that it’s really easy, and quick, as well as being spicy (good for fighting germs), hot (the steam is good for fighting congestion) and comforting on a cold day.  I sort of got this recipe from my online friend Terry. She had posted a “recipe” (no amounts or detailed directions, just the ingredients) for a spicy beef noodle soup that sounded awfully good.

She used red pepper which I didn’t have, as well as a specialty Korean chili sauce (which I also didn’t have). However, cooking is part following what someone else is done, part inspiration, and part improvisation, so I went with improvisation.

I did have cabbage, and I also had leftover steak, sriracha, and chili garlic sauce. I figured those would work just fine for my beef noodle soup.

If you don’t have turkey stock, you could use beef or even chicken if you prefer (see improvisation!). If you want to make your own turkey stock,  the recipe is here.

Either way, once you have the stock, the rest of the soup is really easy to make and only needs a few ingredients.

Start the noodles first, then while they’re cooking, heat the stock in a separate pot and add the other ingredients. Or, you could throw everything (except the steak!) in one pot. If you do, the noodles will absorb a lot of the liquid, so you’ll need more.

Since I had the leftover steak,  I didn’t even have to cook that. If you don’t, cook that while the noodles are cooking, and then add it to the soup at the last minute.

Another thing about this spicy beef noodle soup is that with all that garlicky, spicy goodness it will kill any germs that may be plaguing you!

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

Category: soup

Cuisine: Asian

one serving

spicy beef noodle soup

Spicy beef noodle soup for one.


  • 2 ounces dried noodles (I used penne, you can use spirals or macaroni, or spaghetti)
  • 2C turkey stock
  • two small cabbage leaves, chiffonade
  • 2 squirts sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • sliced steak (leftover, about 4 oz)


  1. Start the water boiling for the noodles in a large saucepan, add salt to taste, then add the noodles, and cook until al dente (about 10 minutes)
  2. While the noodles are cooking, heat the turkey stock in a medium saucepan on a low flame
  3. Cut the cabbage in a chiffonade (that means pull of the leaves, stack them on top of each other, roll them into a cylinder and cut slices off, this should make long strips of cabbage)
  4. Add the cabbage to the stock, then the sriracha, and the garlic sauce.
  5. Once the noodles are cooked, drain them, and add them to the soup.
  6. Add the leftover steak (if you don't have leftover, start the steak while the noodles are cooking).

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Use roasted gochujang (which is what Terry used)
  • Swap the steak for cooked turkey (especially if you still have turkey to use up), add that at the end, just for a minute to heat up
  • Add sliced red peppers
  • Put in some mushrooms; crimini or other stronger flavored varieties would work best

Tools and Ingredients for Spicy Beef Garlic Soup

Chili Garlic Sauce

I love this stuff. It’s got a stronger kick, and less sugar, than the sriracha, plus the extra heat (and spiciness) from garlic.  It’s great in meatloaf, on eggs, in soup, or in a sauce. Think garlicky salsa.


Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

If you prefer a hint of sweetness, you might like this instead of the chili garlic sauce (or use them both).  Squeeze it over eggs, into soup, on enchiladas, or burritos.  It’s also good for stir-fry. Think of it as ketchup with a kick.

Get More Small Batch Soup Recipes

Curried Chicken Soup

Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup