Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Chilly, dreary weather in AZ is often a welcome change from the norm - typically short-lived but just enough to instill a vague sense of nostalgia for seasonal weather patterns. Last week was colder than usual which set a good stage for curling up with a good book and hot bowl of soup.

I have been making a lot of chunky vegetable soups this winter such as cabbage, lentil, and root vegetable stews – all of which are lovely. But last week, the lack of constant sunshine coupled with the lack of enthusiasm to be at work was really starting to wear on me. I looked out the window to see only clouds and a high of 52 (I know Midwesterners, hush) and thought that chunky vegetable soup just wasn’t going to cut it. Dreaming of warm, comforting food for dinner I started mentally raiding my cupboards for ideas.

The only thing I really wanted to get rid of was a pair of Russet potatoes. I’m more of a sweet potato person, but I had purchased some regular old baking potatoes after getting the stomach flu in order to have a less complex food on hand. But then I got better and the potatoes got lost, so they had to go quickly or they’d sprout right through the counter. The only semi-fun thing I had was broccoli, so I started thinking of what I could do with potatoes and broccoli in the mix. The thought process went something like this.

Baked Potato  >  Loaded Baked Potato  >   CHEEZY loaded baked potato  >  Cheezy Soup  >  Broccoli Cheez Soup!! (poured over Baked Potato)

And so the venture began. I did my customary recipe hunt to get a basic idea of how a vegan might go about making a cheese soup and then branched off on my own. Of course the recipe mirrors the process of making vegan Mac ‘n Cheez or vegan Nacho Cheez, but I wasn’t sure how it would hold up as soup. Turns out, it’s friggin’ yum! My test taster agreed it tastes like the real deal, and I am fairly certain the mustard gives it a certain oompf that is quite necessary to achieve the cheesy taste. While I ended up having the potato on the side, I did transpose the idea of a loaded potato to garnishments for the soup: toasted pine nuts and bac’un bits. So it was more of a loaded soup, but that sounds weird.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Makes: 2 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes


2 c. broccoli and/or stems, chopped

1 c. vegetable broth from bouillon
1/3 c. nutritional yeast
3 T. flour (potato or all purpose)
1 T. Earth Balance
1 tsp mustard
¼ heaping tsp. onion powder
¼ heaping tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ - ¾ c. almond milk
Pinch of white pepper

Garnishments (optional): toasted pine nuts, bacon bits


Steam broccoli for 5-7 minutes or until desired texture is reached. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare vegetable broth by boiling water and mixing in a ½ cube of bouillon. Combine next 7 ingredients in a sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat. Whisk in vegetable broth. When soup starts to bubble, lower heat to medium and slowly add in ½ cup of almond milk. Add more if soup is too thick or starchy and. Finish with a pinch of white pepper and stir in broccoli. Top each bowl with a table spoon of pine nuts and/or a dash of bacon bits. Serve with crusty bread or a baked potato.

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