Next Week's Meal Plan

A Week of Easy and Delicious Soups to Cozy Up to This Fall

updated Nov 6, 2022
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A graphic featuring five photos of easy soups to make for dinner labeled by the days of the week.
Credit: From Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Olive & Mango; Kimberley Hasselbrink; Kelli Foster; Susy Villasuso; Joe Lingeman

When fall rolls around, the soups of the world finally get to take over our dinner rotations, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Nothing warms me up quite like a bowl of brothy soup or a creamy and flavorful purée. And there are so many different types of soup (lemony avgolemono, creamy tomato bisque, spicy lentil), which means I can eat soup every day of the week without getting tired of it.

If you have a reliable chef’s knife and cutting board, along with a sturdy pot or Dutch oven, then you can make any of the recipes on this list of hearty soups (although an Instant Pot helps move the process along a lot).

Mix and match this meal plan however you like — you can make a batch of soup every night, choose one or two and eat the leftovers throughout the week, or freeze extras for reheating later in the month. There are plenty of routes to take!

Credit: Olive & Mango

Monday: Italian Bread & Tomato Soup (Ribollita)

Monday is typically my least energetic day of the week, so to make the start of my week a little easier, I’m making this Ribollita, a Tuscan soup with flavors that come from go-to Italian ingredients like Tuscan kale, cannellini beans, and rich tomato purée. The recipe calls for canned beans and I’ll use pre-chopped kale to speed things along. This is also a good way for me to make sure my almost-stale bread gets put to good use.

To keep things interesting, though, I’ll probably make the full recipe and have it for dinner this night, save some for lunch the next day, and then freeze the rest for Friday or Saturday night when I can enjoy it with a nice glass of white wine.

Tuesday: Ina Garten’s Wild Mushroom & Farro Soup

Ina Garten’s baking recipes are exceptional, but her soup recipes are also not to be breezed over. This mushroom and farro soup covers all of the bases when it comes to taste and texture — you get an earthy flavor from the mushrooms and Marsala wine, a bit of bite from the farro, and plenty of smoothness from the broth.

Although Marsala wine gives the soup a special aroma, you can swap in any good white wine you have on hand — that’s what I’ll be doing. And while the soup bubbles away, I’ll make extra farro for grain salads for lunch, and to serve on the side of other soups later this week. I’m planning to freeze individual portions of this soup to enjoy throughout the month.

Credit: Kelli Foster

Wednesday: Creamy Chicken Potato Soup

Not only is this creamy chicken soup super filling from the potatoes and chicken, but it’s also customizable — you can use chicken breasts or thighs (or both), although I prefer using boneless, skinless chicken thighs for a richer flavor and more tender meat. You can also swap in rotisserie chicken to make it even faster, and you can even swap the white potatoes for sweet potatoes.

Personally, I love chopped dill and freshly squeezed lemon juice with chicken soup, so I’ll garnish my bowl with those — fresh parsley would be a nice addition too, or you can just enjoy it as is!

Credit: Susy Villasuso

Thursday: Caldo de Pollo

Caldo de pollo is a traditional and beloved Mexican soup that brings together a wide range of flavors and textures, as well as plenty of tasty vegetables and herbs. One of the best ways to make this dish is to use a homemade chicken broth — it’s a good way to ensure you’ll get the richest flavor. If you’re a planner, then your best bet is to make a large batch of the broth and then freeze some in large deli containers that you can pull out during the week.

That said, you can use store-bought chicken broth if you’re in a time crunch. You can leave the broth as is or simply add a few extra flavor boosters like herbs and seasonings. Just be sure to choose low-sodium broth so your soup doesn’t get too salty.

This dish is typically made with 


Get the recipe: Caldo de Pollo

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Friday: Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup

The best way to end the week? Make this easy soup that combines butternut squash, sage, and apples (aka the ultimate fall flavors!). This dish can come together in just 30 minutes with the help of an Instant Pot.

For those who don’t have an Instant Pot or simply don’t want to use it, however, you can (as I likely will) use a slow cooker. Simply place all the sautéed ingredients in the slow cooker (early in the day) along with the butternut squash, broth, and seasonings. Set on low for 6 to 8 hours. When it’s almost done, I’ll mash it a bit (I don’t mind it on the chunkier side) before adding the cream and maybe some extra broth (if you prefer your soup super smooth, use an immersion blender to blend in the pot or pulse it in a blender in batches). Alternatively, you can use a Dutch oven for this recipe, too. Just be sure to cook the squash until it’s fork-tender.

Lastly, you can (and should!) think about tasty toppings like a drizzle of cream or coconut milk, toasted pumpkin seeds or nuts, a grating of your favorite salty cheese, or maybe just a dollop of Greek yogurt. I’ll likely opt for grated Parmesan and some sautéed chopped bacon or pancetta.

Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But we’re firm believers that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. We want to help you find inspiration and ease some of the pain points that come with getting dinner on the table night after night, whether you’re cooking one or a family of four or five. Every week we share a new meal plan solution specifically customized for you from reader requests or from a guest contributor, for Next Week’s Meal Plan!