If you read my last post, then you’ll know I made some homemade almond milk that I was going to use in upcoming recipes, including today’s! When you think of almond milk and broccoli, the two don’t seem to harmoniously go together, but in fact, they do — when you are making “Cream” of Broccoli soup! The quotation marks are here to indicate it’s not actually cream, but a vegan soup using almond milk instead. This soup is filled with all the flavors and richness of a typical cream of broccoli except without the cream and butter. Instead, I saute the broccoli, leeks and celery in olive oil to caramelize the vegetables and bring out all the wonderful juices and flavors. At the end, I stir in homemade almond milk, and the result is a delicious, warm, bright, and earthy soup. Creamy and rich indeed.
For dietary purposes and anyone with food allergies, this soup is dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan. The broccoli and leeks provide a great source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. The almond milk, protein.
This soup is a one pot wonder and takes no times to make. It’s not a fussy soup and you could really add whatever vegetables you have around. If you wanted a thicker soup, I would suggest adding in some potatoes to give that starchy, rich flavor. For the almond milk, I would highly suggest making your own or using a brand that uses just almonds and water for the ingredients. It’s important to use an unsweetened, plain almond milk, that way your soup doesn't come out super sweet. If you do make your own, I have a great simple and easy one.
If you notice for the liquid, I choose to use a combination of vegetable broth and water. I like to use about 1/2 and 1/2. The vegetable broth will add additional flavor but the water will help subdue the taste so as to not over power the soup. If you buy store-bought, I recommend using a low-sodium or sodium-free broth. Be mindful when salting your soup, many store-bought brands are packed with sodium, so season after you’ve added the broth. I always do add a little salt in the beginning when I saute my vegetables, because its helps the vegetables sweat and release their juices.
To finish the soup and this post for that matter, I must end with one of the most delightful toppings a soup could have (I think), and that’s crispy broccoli. This fantastically simple, but heavenly topping adds crunch, texture, a little saltiness, and most importantly, enhances the broccoli flavor of the soup, not to mention it highlights what's in the soup, if you haven't already told your guests.
This dish, of course, is a great starter if you’re hosting friends and family, or if you are going to a holiday party and need to bring something. It’s also perfect to make on a Sunday so you can enjoy the leftovers all week long for lunch or dinner. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! And, just to note, while the crispy broccoli is completely optional, you really don’t want to skip out. It’s truly worth it. Enjoy!
In a large pot, generously coat the bottom with olive oil. Add the garlic and turn on the heat to medium. Cook until garlic is perfumed, about 1-2 minutes (don’t let garlic burn!). Add the leaks, celery, ginger (optional) and salt (about 1/2 teaspoon). You can add more salt once the soup you have added the broth, but for now I always add a little). Cook the vegetables until they are translucent and start to caramelize, stirring occasionally, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the broccoli and juice of 1 lemon and cook until the broccoli is well coated and has slightly cooked / tenderized, about a few minutes. (You can add a touch of water or more oil to help along the vegetables if they start to burn / dry out). Add the broth, water, and pepper (liquid should just cover the vegetables). Bring to a boil then cover and let simmer until the broccoli is cooked through but still retains some firmness (you don’t want it to be mush), about 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly for about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the almond milk. Using an immersion blender or high-power blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add more salt + pepper to taste if you wish. Serve warm and enjoy! Store in the fridge or freezer.
Makes: 8 cups of soup / 4 servings
Total Time: about 45 minutes
To make the crispy broccoli (optional but *highly* recommended):
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a baking sheet. Add broccoli (as much as you like), a generous amount of olive oil, and salt + pepper to taste. I also add chili flakes for extra heat. Toss until each broccoli is evenly coated and arrange on the baking sheet, leaving space between each broccoli. This is key to the crispness of the broccoli. If they were all placed on top of each other, they would steam instead of fry. Place in the oven for 15-20minutes until crispy. Check half way through to make sure broccoli hasn’t dried out --- add more olive oil if they do -- and to give them a toss so that more than one side gets crispy. Top them on the soup and enjoy!
Olive oil or coconut oil for coating the pan
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 celery stalks, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
2 large leeks (or 3 small) sliced in 1/4 inch slices
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt or to your own taste
2-3 large bunches of broccoli (about 6 cups, loosely packed)
1 lemon, juiced
2 cups vegetable broth
3-4 cups water
pepper to taste
1 cup almond milk
crispy broccoli (optional):
broccoli (as much as you want)
olive oil (depends on how much broccoli you use)
salt + pepper
chili flakes (optional)