In the Field

Five Stand-Out Soups in Nashville

By: Erin Byers Murray

How are those resolutions coming along? This is usually about the time that I’m either dug in and ready to commit for at least a few more weeks—or cast them off altogether in favor of my standard semi-healthy living. This year, I’ve resolved to put more vegetables into my body every day, from adding arugula and shiitakes to my frittata and serving savory black-eyed pea griddle cakes on the weekend to practicing my tempura-frying techniques with these vegetable pakoras.

The same goes for eating out: I’m relying on Nashville’s restaurants to load me up with vegetable-forward, comforting soups to get me through these next few weeks of winter. Here are five soups that are currently heating up my lunch plans.

Soup’s Up in Nashville

Tantanmen at Otaku Ramen is one of the best soups in Nashville
Image courtesy of Ichiran NY

Tantanmen at Otaku Ramen

I live dangerously close to the west side location of Sarah Gavigan’s ramen mainstay so this vegetarian noodle soup is a repeat order for me. The umami-ish veggie and miso broth is brimming with riced cauliflower, smoked tofu, scallion, and a ramen egg while the spice bomb brings a throat-warming heat. @otakuramen

Nonna’s Lentil Soup at Culaccino

The drive down to Franklin is completely worth it for me when there’s a meal at Culaccino involved. Pro tip: Head down during less traffic-y lunchtime for a bowl of chef Frank Pullara’s grandmother’s hearty, tomato-based lentil soup, which gets loaded up with fennel sausage, tender bits of pastina pasta, and house-cured pancetta.

Tortilla soup from Maiz de la Vida is one of the best soups in Nashville
Image by Jenn Hair

Sopa de Tortilla at Maiz de la Vida‘s Tortilla Shop

Chiles, cubed avocado, queso fresco in a rich chicken and guajillo broth? Claro que si. Maiz de la Vida’s tortilla shop on Clarksville Pike is hitting the spot with its soul-filling tortilla soup. But keep an eye on Instagram for other weekly specials like their birriaramen, loaded with radishes, jalapeños, and cilantro. @maizdlv_tortillashop

Smoked Fish Chowder at The Optimist

Okay, so I wouldn’t call this one vegetable forward, but hearty chunks of smoked fish in a creamy-light broth still feel like a healthy-ish reason to get to the Germantown outpost of Ford Fry’s seafood restaurant. The broth is dotted with an herbacious oil and the sidecar of oyster crackers adds just the right bit of Old Bay-infused crunch. @theoptimistnashville

Veggie bun rieu soup is one of the best soups in Nashville.
Image by William Rush Jagoe V

Veggie Bun Rieu Soup at East Side Pho

This might be the “meatiest” vegan bowl of goodness to be found in Nashville. It’s packed with Impossible meatballs, mushrooms, and tofu over rice noodles, all swimming in ESP’s version of a traditionally sour, tamarind-flavored broth. @eastsidepho

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