While soup might not be on everyone’s Thanksgiving table, it does offer a nice starting point to the meal — especially if you’re getting fancy and serving that meal in courses. Another bonus: Soup can be made several days in advance, so that’s one less thing to worry about and one more thing that’s ready to go when stomachs start grumbling.

Here are a few season-appropriate recipes to inspire:

Apple-Rutabaga Soup, above. This smooth soup is pleasantly spicy thanks to a little cayenne pepper, but that gentle heat is balanced by a kiss of maple syrup. With two cups of heavy cream, this isn’t exactly diet fare; for starting a meal, we’d dish up very small, teacup-size servings. Leftovers freeze well.



(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post)

Holiday Kuri Squash and Apple Soup. Beautiful and almost fat-free — meaning it’s an ideal first course before a big meal. You can keep it simple or go all out and dress it up with chestnuts, apple slices and/or a sprig of thyme. Make it up to five days ahead, or longer if you plan on freezing it.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Apple Soup With Juniper. An elegant little Scandinavian number enriched with ginger, juniper, cardamom and allspice. This soup is quite thin, which means it’d be lovely served in tiny cups or shot glasses. Make it up to a week in advance, or freeze it for up to three months.



(Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post)

Creamy Squash Soup With Pimenton. Simple in the best of ways, with a hefty dose of smoked paprika for color and flavor. Use vegetable broth to make it vegan, or dress it up with a drizzle of heavy cream or a few dots of creme fraiche. You could make this several days ahead.



(Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post)

Celery Root-Apple Soup. Pale and silky-smooth; serve it warm, at room temperature or chilled, and play around with the garnishes. You can make this up to two days ahead.

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