How to Make Creamy Vegetable Soups (Minus the Cream)

Each of these soup recipes — cauliflower, broccoli and sweet potato — uses the same simple method and can easily be made in less than 20 minutes. The soups can utilize whatever seasonal vegetables are on hand and be built upon endlessly, just by adding different herbs and spices or by stirring greens in at the end, before or after the soup is blended.

What sets them apart from one another is the cooking times and amounts of water: When using watery vegetables (like zucchini), the soup will require less and cook faster than with starchier ingredients (like root vegetables), which need more time and water both. Since you can add water as needed at the end when blending the soups, it’s best to start with less. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to add water to just below the surface of the vegetables. If using root vegetables and squash, add enough water to cover the surface.

And for the best results, be sure to use an upright blender and blend the soup for several minutes to achieve the perfect creamy consistency — without cream.

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182240577

Photo by: Alan Tobey ©alantobey

Alan Tobey, alantobey

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Serves 4

To give this soup a whole new flavor profile and a brilliant golden color, try adding a tablespoon of curry powder after sauteing the garlic.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to garnish

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

Sea salt

1 medium to large head cauliflower, cut into medium florets (about 8 cups)

5 cups water

Black pepper

Tamari to taste

Directions:

Warm olive oil in a medium to large pot over medium heat, add onion and saute for 5 minutes or until golden. Stir in garlic and a large pinch of salt and cook 3 minutes more.

Add cauliflower, water and another pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cauliflower is cooked through but not falling apart.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before blending in an upright blender until completely smooth.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and a few drops of tamari, and then blend again. Serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil and lots of cracked pepper.

500163965

500163965

Broccoli stem

Broccoli stem

Broccoli Dill Soup

Serves 4

Spinach stirred in after the broccoli is cooked gives this soup a vibrant green color and fresh flavor.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

Sea salt

3 medium to large heads broccoli, cut into florets (about 8 cups), stems peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

1 cup chopped fresh dill, divided, plus more to serve

5 cups water

2 cups baby spinach

Black pepper

Tamari to taste

Directions:

Warm olive oil in a medium to large pot over medium heat, add onion and saute for 5 minutes or until golden.

Stir in garlic and a large pinch of salt and cook 3 minutes more. Add broccoli florets and stems, 1/2 cup dill, water and another pinch of salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.

Cover pot reduce heat to low and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until broccoli is cooked through but not falling apart. Stir in spinach and remaining dill, and remove from heat.

Allow to cool slightly before blending in an upright blender until completely smooth.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and a few drops of tamari and blend again. Serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh dill sprigs.

187904105

187904105

Batata (Ipomoea batatas)

Batata (Ipomoea batatas)

Spicy Sweet Potato with Ginger

Serves 4 to 6

This sweet and velvety soup benefits from the fresh ginger and a touch of chile (feel free to add more to taste). For a more decadent and silky result, try adding a can of unsweetened coconut milk when blending the soup.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger

Sea salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes plus more to garnish

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 8 cups)

6 cups water

3 large sprigs cilantro

Tamari to taste

Chilled coconut milk to serve, optional

Directions:

Warm coconut oil in a medium to large pot over medium heat, add onion and saute for 5 minutes or until golden. Add garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and a large pinch of salt and cook 3 minutes more.

Add sweet potato, water, another pinch of salt and cilantro and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft all the way through.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before blending in an upright blender until completely smooth. Add more water to get desired consistency and season to taste with tamari and salt.

Serve warm topped with a dab of coconut milk and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. She blogs at amyquinn.com.

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