I had a head of broccoli in the fridge that was nearing its end and, since I did not want to let it spoil, had to think of some way to use it quickly. I had used up both my regular and sweet potatoes a couple of days ago, so steaming the broccoli to serve alongside potatoes wasn't an option. I could have made a vegetable stir-fry with broccoli in it, but didn't really feel like having a stir-fry. Besides, I had no tofu, and I like tofu in my stir-fry. What I did feel like having was a vegan cream of broccoli soup.
Now this delicious dish isn't a close approximation of cream of broccoli soup. If you've been vegan for only a short time and remember the taste and texture of dairy-based cream of broccoli soup well, don't set your taste buds for that exact taste. But I think this creamy broccoli soup actually has more flavour and more character than the dairy-based cream of broccoli soup.
I used creamed coconut and coconut milk to give this soup its creaminess, and coconut does have a unique taste. It isn't as neutral a base as dairy is. But I've found, from my experience with creamy Norman soups, as also with various Asian coconut curries, that it does not really make dishes sweet as the coconut-uninitiated might think. It in no way interferes with the taste of robust, even spicy, savoury soups and stews. You could also use soy milk instead of coconut milk, but you'd probably need to add creamed cashews or silken tofu to end up with a thick, creamy soup.
Here, in any case, is how I made this creamy broccoli soup:
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 head broccoli, florets removed and stem chopped
- 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 bulb garlic, roasted
- stock (3 cups water, 1 Tbsp naturally brewed soy sauce, 1/2 tsp marmite, and 1 small can coconut milk)
- 1 package creamed coconut, dissolved in 1 cup boiling water to make a heavy coconut cream
- 2 tsp rosemary
- 1/2 tsp sage
- 2 Tbsp vegan margarine
- sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- In a large pot, combine diced onion, carrots, broccoli stems and parsley. Saute in margarine for about 5 minutes.
- Wrap the bulb of garlic in foil and roast in oven for about 15-20 minutes.
- Add the stock to the sauteed vegetables, along with 1 tsp of the rosemary and the 1/2 tsp sage. Mix well and bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for about 15-20 minutes. By now the garlic should be roasted and taken out of the oven.
- Transfer the soup, as it is now, to a blender, or use a hand-blender as I do, and blend thoroughly.
- Put the broccoli florets and the remaining tsp rosemary into the soup, bring back to boil and simmer, on reduced heat, for another 10 minutes or so.
- Squeeze the soft, roasted garlic into the heavy coconut cream and blend thoroughly. Pour the now garlicky coconut cream into the soup, stirring constantly to ensure a smooth finish.
- Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Enjoy on its own or with crackers.
Serves six to eight, or if pigging out, four.