Heartwarming Bowls

By Lydia Zerby

If there were an award for a food dish that most resembled a hug, soup would win, hands down! There’s nothing better than cozying up with a hot bowl of soup during cold Iowa winters. Soup also deserves an award for being versatile. Whether beef or pork, egg or turkey, Iowa proteins pair perfectly in various soup flavor profiles. 

During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, consider adding one of these soup recipes to your family or celebratory dinner table. Soups can be a fun way to feed a crowd, as many can be prepared ahead of time in a crockpot or on the stove. Set up a topping bar so guests can customize as they like, and you’re good to go! 

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Photo credit: Midwest Dairy

Indian-Inspired Curry Cauliflower Soup | Midwest Dairy

Bright flavors and creamy milk give this dish a powerful punch of flavor and smooth texture that will brighten mealtime. Warm curry, fresh ginger, cumin and turmeric add levels of Indian-inspired tastes. Roasting cauliflower until it’s lightly charred and crispy at the edges turns the typically bland vegetable into something sweet and caramelized. Find the recipe here.

Season's Eatings: During the winter months, when illness is prevalent, you and your family can feel good knowing that milk and other dairy products are a natural source of immune-boosting nutrients like zinc and protein.


Photo credit: Iowa Beef Industry Council

Irish Beef and Beer Stew | Iowa Beef Industry Council 

This classic pairing can transport you to Ireland without leaving your house! Slow-roasted beef and vegetables are cooked in a rich, dark beer. Root vegetables like parsnips, turnips and potatoes give this stew a heartiness that will leave you full and satisfied. Use a tight-fitting lid and keep it on while stewing to prevent moisture and heat loss, which can impact cooking time. Find the recipe here. 

Season’s Eatings: Beef chuck roast has a rich flavor perfect for slow and low cooking, so consider also using it for pot roast, stroganoff, tacos or beef sandwiches.


Photo credit: National Turkey Federation

Turkey Taco Soup | Iowa Turkey Federation

Turkey taco soup is just the thing to warm you up from the inside out. Bite after bite or bowl after bowl, you’ll be going back for seconds! Earthy, rich flavors like cumin and chili powder combine for that hearty bowl of goodness you’ve been waiting for. Top with a shredded Mexican cheese blend and crushed tortilla chips for creaminess and crunch! Find the recipe here.

Season’s Eatings: Turkey drinks in whatever seasonings or marinades it’s cooked with, making it a versatile choice perfect for this warm and comforting soup and many other dishes.


Photo credit: National Pork Producers

Pueblo Pork and Hominy Stew | Iowa Pork Producers

This rustic stew is similar to the classic Mexican posole, popular in the American Southwest. The corn flavor introduced by the hominy can be heightened by substituting dried masa (corn flour) for the flour. Serve with warm tortillas, lime wedges and cilantro for a bright finish. Find the recipe here. 

Season’s Eatings: Pork today is very lean and should not be overcooked. Whenever possible, use a thermometer to test for doneness. Pork should be cooked to 145 degrees F, with a three-minute rest.


Photo credit: Kelsey Byrnes, Dance Around the Kitchen

Smoky Corn Chowder | Kelsey Byrnes, Dance Around the Kitchen

There’s something quintessentially Iowan about adding sweet corn and bacon to a soup; it’s a match made in heaven! Both iconic Iowa ingredients combine to create a creamy, smoky, flavor-filled chowder. Potatoes do their part in thickening the dish, and a finish of heavy whipping cream transforms the chowder, creating a silky-smooth texture. Find the recipe here. 

Season’s Eatings:  Less than 1% — or only about 3,400 acres of sweet corn — is grown in Iowa annually. Most of the corn you see growing in Iowa is field corn, which is used to make fuel, feed, food and thousands of other everyday products.


Photo credit: The Soyfoods Council

Great Plains Harvest Soup | The Soyfoods Council

Chef Christopher Koetke, associate dean at Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in Chicago, developed this recipe that uses a bevy of soy ingredients. MicroSoy Super Spuds are instant potato and soy flakes. You can find them in the green section of most grocery stores labeled I.M. Healthy Instant Mashed Potatoes. Added at the end, they thicken the soup beautifully. Fresh herbs and vegetables add a burst of flavor and complement the heartiness of the soybeans and edamame. Find the recipe here. 

Season’s Eatings: Edamame is lower in carbohydrates than many other legumes. One cup of shelled, steamed edamame contains almost 14 grams of carbs. That's compared to 40 grams of carbs for a cup of cooked lentils or kidney beans.


Photo credit: American Egg Board

Shrimp Ramen Noodle Soup | Iowa Egg Council

Instant ramen becomes a thing of the past with this quick and nutritious homemade take on the convenience staple. Full of veggies and shrimp, this recipe comes together in 30 minutes, making it a winter weeknight classic. This dish is anything but bland with the addition of garlic, ginger, sriracha and lime juice. Find the recipe here. 

Season’s Eatings: For perfect soft-boiled eggs, bring a pot of water to a boil, lower to a rapid simmer and lower the eggs in gently. Cook for 5 minutes for a very runny yolk or up to 7 minutes for a barely set yolk. Put eggs into an ice bath immediately to stop the cooking process.