Unlike President George H.W. Bush, we love broccoli. We usually have at least two bags of frozen broccoli florets in the freezer for a quick side dish. It’s been unusually cold this winter in Southern California. A nice bowl of warm soup is not only nourishing but a healthy balance for all the sweet treats that abound this time of year. You can trick yourself into thinking you’re being good.
I’ve been experimenting with vegan cooking lately. While we are still not vegan, we are trying to cut back on dairy and eggs for health reasons. I decided to try to make a broccoli “cream” soup without using dairy or adding cheese. It is actually quite tasty and a healthy alternative to other cream based soups. Look for a vegetarian “chicken” broth powder. You can usually find it in a natural foods store. It makes nice broth and is a wonderful seasoning when sauteed with fresh vegetables.
Vegan Broccoli Cream Soup
- 1-2 pounds of fresh or frozen broccoli, cut into 1 inch sized pieces
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks of celery, peeled and diced
- 2 small or 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 tablespoons of vegetarian “chicken” broth powder
- 4 cups of water
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup of soy creamer or plain soy milk
In a medium sized dutch oven, sauté the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in the olive oil until soft and fragrant, about 5 – 10 minutes. Trader Joe’s now sells a “Mirepoix” mixture of celery, carrots and onion to save you time, but it’s easy and less expensive to cut them up yourself. Add the “chicken” broth powder and saute for 5 more minutes. The powder will release more moisture from the vegetables and become more fragrant. Add the potatoes and cook for a few more minutes. Add the water, bay leaves, and the broccoli and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the broccoli and potatoes are fork tender. This will take about 20 minutes or so.
Remove the bay leaves! Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to a desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can puree the soup in batches in a blender, but be careful to only fill the blender halfway so that you don’t burn yourself if the hot soup overflows. If you like a chunky soup, you can remove some of the broccoli and potatoes and add back in. If the soup is too thin, you can microwave some frozen broccoli and add it to the soup. Add the soy creamer and salt and peppper to taste. You can add more soy creamer or milk if you prefer a creamier soup.
After you’ve eaten your healthy soup, you won’t feel so bad for eating a few more of those sinful Trader Joe’s star cookies covered in dark chocolate. Those things are evil!