Cream-less pureed vegetable soups
Roasted Carrot and Coconut Milk Soup
Cream-less vegetable pureed soups are a delicious way to enjoy vegetables. By pureeing cooked vegetables you obtain a surprisingly "creamy" soup without the cream. The technique for making this soup can be applied to virtually any vegetable as well as some fruits.
The basic recipe is simple:
- A foundation of onions, leeks or shallots and optional garlic, celery and carrot
- Butter or olive oil
- Vegetables and/or fruits
- Herbs and seasoning
- Optional citrus or vinegar splash
- Optional yogurt, creme fraiche, coconut milk or cream
Sauté onion foundation in butter or oil. Add stock, vegetables and/or fruits. Cook until the vegetable is tender. Season with herbs or spices of your choice. Puree either with an immersion blender, a regular blender or a food processor. Brighten with a splash of citrus or vinegar. Top with croutons, crumbled bacon, sautéed vegetables, herbs or medallion of cheese. You can finish with a bit of dairy to cream it up if you wish, but it is generally not necessary.
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Pureeing the soup
There are three ways to puree a vegetable soup:
- An immersion blender is the easiest and least expensive pureeing tool. Simply put the immersion blender in the pot you cooked it in and turn it on. Move the blender periodically and continue to blend until soup is uniformly blended. Add additional broth if you want a thinner soup. Cuisinart makes a nice emersion blender that is reasonably priced. The downside of an immersion blender is the result is not as silky smooth as food processors, or better yet, blenders.
- Using a food processor also works, but adds an additional step or two, when you consider additional clean up required. Strain most of the vegetable from the broth. Put the strained vegetables in the processor and pulse until everything is uniformly pureed Add pureed vegetables back to broth in soup pot and stir to combine. You can adjust the consistency by adding more broth. Again, Cuisinart makes a phenomenal food processor in a variety of sizes. After decades of using a Cuisinart I have transitioned to Breville's 16-cup pro model and love it. If you are planning on making soups with your food processor, buy the biggest one you can afford.
- Using a blender to puree the soup gives you the smoothest, creamiest consistency, but like the food processor method, it takes a little more work. Strain the vegetable from the broth. Put the strained vegetables in the blender and blitz. Add a bit of broth, blitz again and then return to the soup pot. Add more broth until you get the desired consistency. I recently upgraded to a Vitamix for the first time and man, does it make smooth soup!
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Leeks, onions or shallots with optional celery, carrots, garlic or tomatoes
Asparagus, beets, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, corn, fennel, green peas, mushrooms, potatoes, red bell peppers, zucchini.
Herbs and spices
All spice, bay leaf, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry powder, dill, ginger, lemon grass, mint, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, star anise, tarragon, thyme, turmeric. You can boost the flavor of dried seeds like fennel, coriander and cumin by briefly toasting them and grinding them in a molcajete
Blue cheese, cheddar, gruyere, goat, parmesan.
Level-Up Potato Soup
Avocado, bacon, chives, cilantro, creme fraiche, croutons, green onions, pancetta, diced tomatoes.
Lemon, lime or orange juice; apple cider, balsamic, rice or Spanish sherry vinegar.
Roast your vegetables before you add them to the soup to deepen and enhance their flavors. Mix a variety of vegetables and perhaps an apple or pear to create a more complex flavor than a single-vegetable soup. Puree some of the vegetables, leaving some diced vegetables for a varied texture. Add a few teaspoons of miso to
Most delicious soups start with a foundation of sautéed onions, leeks or shallots. You can enhance this foundation by adding chopped carrots, celery, garlic, peppers or tomatoes to create what the French call a mirepoix and the Latin countries call a sofrito. Spend a few moments to do a good job cooking your onion foundation and it will greatly enhance your soup. Most cream-less pureed vegetable soups freeze very well. So make a big batch for tonight and freeze the rest for another meal.
Recipes for pureed vegetable soups
Note: this original 5/6/2013 post was updated on 10/25/2022