Cream soups

Broccoli soup drizzled with basil-infused oil

A creamy soup can make even the harshest winter seem not so bad. It soothes a raw throat, clears the sinuses with fragrant heat and nourishes the belly with warmth.

Don’t be put off by the word “cream” if you’ve made a resolution to count calories, because there are many ways to make a creamy soup without cream. Of course, the richness of cream is sometimes worth the indulgence. 

Add a fresh salad of spring mix and a homemade vinaigrette and a slice of crusty Italian toast and you have a winning, quick meal. 

Corn soup

Here’s a secret – make a creamy base from rice: 

  • 1/3 c. medium or long-grained white rice 
  • 3 c. broth, chicken or vegetable

Film a deep saucepan with olive oil, add the rice and cook for two minutes, stirring. Add the broth, reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is soft with most of the liquid, about 25 minutes. 

Transfer to a blender or use a stick blender and process until the sauce is smooth. Use as a substitute for cream or milk in any cream-based recipe.

And, now for the soup!

Once you make the easy base, the choice is yours as to what vegetables to add. The key is to cook the vegetables until done and then puree with liquid of choice as needed. Many don’t need further seasoning than salt and pepper but use your creative hand to make the soup Italian flavored with oregano and basil, curry-flavored by adding a tablespoon of red curry paste, or Tex-Mex with chipotle and cumin.

  • 1 T. butter
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 c. broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 cups vegetables of choice (see note below)
  • ½ c. half-and-half, rice cream, coconut milk or pureed cannellini beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste, other seasonings as desired

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions and garlic and saute until tender. Add vegetables and saute until tender. Alternatively, toss vegetables with olive oil and roast at 375 until tender. Add broth and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and puree with a hand blender. You can puree until smooth or leave it somewhat chunky. Stir in half-and-half and season to taste. Pour into bowls and garnish with garlic croutons, scallions, feta or goat cheese, parmesan.

Note: suggestions for vegetables are endless. Raid the crisper drawers or freezer and come up with your own combinations. Frozen vegetables can make a really quick soup. Add mushrooms, spinach, carrots and skip the puree step for a delicious chunky soup.

  • Fresh or frozen peas and chopped carrots
  • Tomatoes and basil
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Corn
  • Edamame
  • Peppers and carrots
  • Eggplant
  • Zucchini
  • Beets
  • Pumpkin or winter squash

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