Fresh broccoli is simmered away in a base of rich coconut milk and blended up to dreamy perfection to make this slurpably scrumptious vegan creamy broccoli soup.
One thing I’ve yet to do in life is sign up for a CSA, and to be honest I kind of gave up on that idea a few years ago when I started planting my own backyard vegetable gardens. I have to say though, for the first time since picking up that practice, I’m pretty darn tempted to go the CSA route, and it’s not just because I’m a terrible gardener.
A few weeks ago I got my hands on a review copy of The Love & Lemons Cookbook from Jeanine Donofrio. If you’re at all familiar with Love & Lemons the blog, you probably understand my little conondrum. I’ve been a fan of the blog for a while, which always does an amazing job of featuring seasonal produce in creative and delicious vegetarian recipes. The book follows suit, but it takes things to another level. The Love & Lemons Cookbook is organized not by type of recipe, like most cookbooks, but instead by ingredient, with each featured ingredient being an item of produce. The cover tells you that this book is “an apple-to-zucchini celebration of impromptu cooking,” and that statement is absolutely correct.
The book is beautiful. If you read the blog you won’t be surprised by that – all photographs are taken by Jack Mathews, Jeanine’s husband, and they’re amazing, as is the book’s entire design. You don’t flip through this and just go “Ah, okay, here’s the berries section.” Nope! You get really, really excited about berries. You might want to do a dance about berries. Well, I did anyhow.
So if you’re a CSA veteran and tend to find yourself looking for fun ways to put your weekly harvest to use, look no further. This book is packed with deliciousness. If you’re like me you might just find yourself doing not only impromptu cooking, but impromptu CSA signing up. Be forewarned!
As for me, I didn’t seek out a broccoli recipe in the broccoli section of the book for this post. I kind of just started cruising and ended up there, and I’m glad I did. This soup was exactly what I needed – loaded with flavor and deliciously creamy, while not being overly heavy like some dairy versions of the dish are. A dash of lemon, which is an optional ingredient, gave it just the right zip for an early spring meal. I ate my soup with a big honking chunk of bread, because this soup wants a big honking chunk of bread to suck up its creamy deliciousness.
Creamy Broccoli Soup
- 1 large leek
- 1 tablespoon 15 mL extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 medium head broccoli
- 1 1/2 teaspoons 7 mL white wine vinegar
- 2 cups 500 mL vegetable broth
- 1 cup 250 mL light coconut milk, plus 1/4 cup (60 mL) extra for garnish
- 2 to 3 cups 500 to 750 mL loosely packed amaranth greens or spinach
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of 1 small lemon, optional
- Red pepper flakes, optional
Slice the white and light green parts of the leek into rings. Using a strainer, rinse the leeks thoroughly.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leek, garlic, and a few generous pinches of salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the leek is soft, about 5 minutes.
Chop the broccoli, stems and all, into coarse florets and add them to the pot. Stir and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the white wine vinegar, then add the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer to a blender (you can work in batches if you need to). Blend until smooth. Add the amaranth greens and blend again. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding a bit of lemon juice to brighten it up a bit if you like.
Garnish with a drizzle of coconut milk and olive oil. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired.
Reprinted from The Love & Lemons Cookbook by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Jeanine Donofrio