Recently, I entered a heated debate around what I consider the coziest of foods: soup. While my friends opponents denounced them as watery and lackluster, I found myself defending soups of all varieties. Purees deliver hearty doses of vegetables in their creamiest possible form. Minestrones provide as much warmth as a sweater. Noodle soups are diverse, zany—they take readily any flavor profile you desire. They also have an uncanny ability to cure even my gnarliest of coughs.
My "friends" (could I really trust such soup critics?) held steadfast to an aversion that revealed a shallow understanding of the dish’s full potential. My words alone weren't enough to convince my stubborn debate partners, but maybe some of these recipes will do the trick. This fall, distance yourself from the idea that soups are lazy and uninspired. Instead, embrace soups as varied as pozole, pho, and potato. Try your hand at any—or all—of the soups below whether you're feeling something protein-rich, pureed, or dressed with noodles.