Monday, January 14, 2013

Mexican Broccoli Cheddar Soup

(photo, used with permission, from The Lunchbox Bunch.)

So I went on a soup fix for a week. It was freezing here in Maryland. Now suddenly it's nearly 60 degrees!

I made three different soups. But only one of them was a real winner. I would have taken pictures but our computer died and my photo software went with it. I could load that same software on our laptop, but this is the "spare" computer. When we purchase a new desktop (soon!) I'll be back to my own original photos.

The winner was Spicy Broccoli Cheddar Soup (vegan, for real!) at the The Lunchbox Bunch blog. A link to the original recipe is below the photo above. This was so warm, fuzzy, and had a depth of flavor I wasn't expecting. I left the jalapeno pepper out only because I don't care for the taste. Then I added 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cumin and cilantro. Viola! The Mexican Broccoli Cheddar soup was born. It's a perfect pairing with a black bean burger or chips & salsa. 

The second change I made was to add a Vegan Ranch Dressing directly into the soup after it's in a serving bowl. I've shared this recipe with some of you privately. I was remiss not to share it here. The flavor in this dressing does not disappoint. It is a tangy, rich dressing that everyone loves.

Vegan Ranch Dressing from 30-Minute Vegan
3/4 cup Veganaise or other vegan mayo
6 tablespoons non-dairy milk ( I leave this out when I make the dressing as a dip)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons green onion, white part only
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon minced parsley or cilantro
pinch of cayenne
Blend all ingredients except parsley until creamy. Pour into small bowl. Add the parsley and stir.
Dressing will thicken if left in the fridge. Re-blend or whisk in additional milk to return it to smooth consistency.

Mexican Broccoli Cheddar Soup 
Adapted from Spicy Broccoli Cheddar Soup by Kathy Patalsky
vegan, makes a really big pot
*halve recipe for smaller portion

6-8 cups raw broccoli, florets and stalk, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
3 cups vegetable broth (salted)
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 small red onion, chopped
1 cup soy creamer, plain flavor
3 cups cooked Yukon Gold potatoes, rough chop (skin on)
1 cup cilantro
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup soy milk, plain flavor
2 Tbsp Veganaise
1 1/2 cups shredded vegan cheddar cheese (I used Daiya)
Garnish/on hand: cilantro, ranch dressing, extra cheese shreds.


I baked the potatoes ahead of time. You can put them in the microwave as well. (I don't have one.) I baked 3 Yukon Gold at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Be sure to poke holes in them first. They are done when you can insert a knife inside easily.

1) Chop your broccoli-including most of the stalks-don't throw them all away! Leave out about 1 1/2 cups of tiny broccoli florets for adding whole to the soup later. The rest of the broccoli will be pureed.
2) In your soup pot, saute over med-high heat: 2 Tbsp of your olive oil with the shallot and onion. When cooked lightly, add in lemon juice, veggie broth, remaining oil, cheddar cheese, cumin, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium.
3) Add the potatoes in here.
4) Add in the broccoli. Remember to leave out a few florets for later use though.
5)Cover with lid, when broccoli is tender, turn heat off.
6) Transfer contents of pot into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool slightly. Add to the bowl the fresh cilantro, soy creamer, Veganaise and soy milk. Fold new ingredients into the hot soup mixture.
7)In batches, puree the soup in a Vitamix or other food-processor style blender. Soup should be smooth-no lumps or chunks. Warning: only blend warm soup in blender with extreme caution! Never aim blender toward your face and always start on the lowest setting possible. Never overfill the blender.
8) In the soup pot, add the additional broccoli florets, a dash of veggie broth. Saute covered for about a minute until tender.
9) Add the pureed soup back into the soup pot. Add a bay leaf.  
10) Simmer uncovered for at least twenty minutes to cook out all the air bubbles. Stir constantly for the first few minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving or storing.
11) Serve with a garnish of 2-3 tsp ranch dressing, cilantro, and cheddar cheese.

You are going to want to freeze this. It's that good!


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