We are finally getting some warm spring days here in Wisconsin. With a cool crispness to our mornings, we still have cool breezes and a few downright chilly days. Although we are starting to crave fresh greens and salads as they start to become locally available, there is still a place in our meals for a warm bowl of soup. Creamy vegetable soups are a great complement to spring salads and a nice way to use up those storage veggies to make room for summer’s bounty.
The first part of any good soup recipe is a good stock. Stock can be made from vegetables, meat, bones or any combination of these items. If it is made from only vegetables, it is called vegetable broth. It will contain the minerals and rich flavor from the vegetables that are used, especially potassium. Stock made from bones is called bone broth. It may contain minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, in small amounts. It will also contain gelatin and the amino acids glycine and glutamine. I’ve included links to some broth recipes below. Both types of broth are beneficial and tasty in the creamy soup recipes that follow.
Texture is important for our enjoyment of food and for the satiety signals that are sent to our brains. This is good news for fans of creamy textured, blended soups. There is evidence that blended soups actually help you feel full longer than thin soups, even without added fat or calories. The following hearty soups can be made with or without out dairy and meat. They are delicious and satisfying either way. I’ve included optional stir-in ideas, but feel free to use your own creative ideas at home.
Creamy Cashew Carrot Soup
1 ½ cups raw cashews
1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Optional spices: ginger, thyme or sage (use about 1 tsp. of your favorite dried herb or chopped fresh)
1 quart stock or veggie broth (see recipe links below)
salt and pepper to taste
Optional stir-ins: quinoa or brown rice, chicken
Put the cashews in a glass bowl or measuring cup and cover with filtered water. Add 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt and soak for a half hour or up to six hours. Drain the cashews and put in a blender with fresh water to cover. Purée the cashews until they are the texture of a thick cream, adding more water as needed.
While the cashews are soaking, preheat the oven to 400° and toss the carrot and onion pieces with the olive oil in a large roasting pan. Roast the veggies for 35 – 40 minutes. Place the roasted veggies and stock or veggie broth in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the veggies to soften completely.
Use an immersion blender or fill your regular blender half full to purée the soup. Be sure to vent the lid of your blender, otherwise the steam may build up and cause an explosion of hot soup. I like to add the cashew cream in the blender, which helps cool things down and prevent dangerous accidents. Once all is blended, return the soup to your pan and add the optional stir ins, such as quinoa or chicken. Add salt to taste and heat through before serving.
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green apple, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil or ½ cup broth
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans or 1 can
1 – 2 Tablespoons curry powder
1 quart broth or stock (see recipe links below)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
grated rind of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 can coconut milk
salt to taste
Optional stir-ins: basmati rice, chicken, lamb, cooked potatoes, parsley, cilantro
Sauté the carrot, apple and celery in the olive oil or broth until the onion is starting to become translucent. Stir in the apple, chickpeas and curry powder. Put the lid on the pan and steam gently for five minutes. Add the broth, ginger, lemon and thyme. Bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat until the vegetables are very tender. Cool slightly. Use a blender to purée the soup in batches with the coconut milk. Be careful not to fill your blender too full. Follow the directions for hot liquids. Return the creamy soup to the pot. Stir in salt and your favorite add-ins, and heat through. Do not boil the finished soup.
Creamy Potato Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
6 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into half inch chunks
1 quart veggie broth or stock
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the onion in the butter or oil until translucent. Add the potato chunks, herbs and enough stock or broth to cover the potatoes. You may add water, if needed. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are softened, about 20 minutes. Remove one cup of potato chunks, and discard the bay leaf. Purée the remaining soup with an immersion blender. Add the potatoes back in and season to taste. Optional: Serve with a sprinkle of jack cheese.
For a variation on the creamy potato soup, add cut up broccoli or asparagus stems with the potatoes and cook through. Stir in the broccoli florets or asparagus tips after soup is pureed. Cook until the broccoli or asparagus is tender-crisp.
Upcoming Wellness Wednesday Classes at Basics Cooperative
Celebrate Salad, 6 – 7 pm, May 20th
We’ll explore fresh, local greens to improve your summer salads.
Think Outside the Box with Local Mac & Cheese, 6 – 7 pm, June 17th
June is dairy month, and we think you’ll be inspired to get creative with local cheese in a favorite comfort food. Dairy and gluten free recipes will be included.
Preserving the Harvest with Fermentation, 6 – 7 pm, July 15th
Learn to make your own live, fermented vegetables. We’ll cover sauerkraut and its variations, along with some fermented veggies that may be new to you.