Today I want to tell you about a recipe for the simplest pureed broccoli soup…
The soup is wonderful for many reasons: It’s vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free; it comes together quickly enough to justify even making it for lunch; it can be one-pot if you have an immersion blender; it makes use of the entire broccoli stalk, not just its florets (no waste!); and best of all, it’s endlessly riff-able. Like, almost to a fault.
My favorite way to enjoy it is the way I just did for lunch: topped with plain yogurt and crispy fried onions. (You know those cans they sell at Trader Joe’s? Don’t ever walk by them!) But I wouldn’t complain if I were served this soup drizzled with chili crisp or chili oil or coconut milk or pesto or out-and-out heavy cream. Or if it were topped with croutons or shaved Parm or minced herbs (basil? dill? chives?) or corn chips or crème fraîche or sunflower seeds. Or if you thought to stir in some miso or smoked paprika or ginger somewhere along the way.
And I know I’m risking the very real problem of paralysis of choice here, but you can also use this template for so many vegetables — swap out the broccoli for butternut squash, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, even cabbage.
What direction would you take it?
Pureed Broccoli Soup
Adding the extra olive oil at the end (obviously) makes the soup more velvety and indulgent, but you can skip that if you are after something a bit lighter. Makes 4 small or 3 large servings.
2 tablespoons olive oil + 1/4 olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
1 pound broccoli, florets and stems (shave any rough patches off the stems with a knife or a vegetable peeler), chopped
4 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a soup pot set over medium heat and add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and a dash of red pepper flakes. Cook until onions are soft, then add broccoli and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook until the broccoli is very soft, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Turn off heat, add another 1/4 cup olive oil, and puree the soup using an immersion blender until silky and smooth. (If you are using a regular blender: Remove soup from heat and let cool slightly. Add 1/4 olive oil, and puree in the blender until silky and smooth. Make sure the plug on the lid is ajar, to allow for some steam to escape and to prevent a pressure build-up. Return the soup to pot to warm through if necessary.)
At this point you can choose your own adventure:
• Top with grated Parm, croutons, and chives
• Top with crispy onions and sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
• Top with shredded cheddar, sour cream, and crumbled tortilla chips
• Top with chili crisp or a drizzle of chili oil
• Stir in 1 tablespoon sweet white miso (you might want to thin it with a little warm water to make it more distribute-able) and a teaspoon of soy sauce
• Stir in curry paste with the onions, then finish with a drizzle of coconut milk and a squeeze of lime.