Creamy Broccoli Soup
This is one of the best formulas for a creamy, savory broccoli soup — and it doesn’t include any cream. Borrowing from the concept of using coconut water to provide the kind of richness that is reminiscent of bone broth in Yi Jun Loh’s ingeniously vegan Malaysian ABC soup, this simple green elixir starts with a base of umami-loaded vegetables seared in olive oil then braised in coconut water. With silken tofu providing creaminess, this verdant, vegetable-powered soup can be pleasurably contrasted, in flavor and in temperature, with an optional dollop of sweet, cool ricotta. (If you’re keeping this vegan, you’ll still have plenty of creamy richness even if you leave the ricotta out.)
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2pounds broccoli
- ¼cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1large onion, coarsely chopped
- 1medium carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1medium tomato, coarsely chopped
- 1small sweet potato (preferably white-fleshed), coarsely chopped
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1teaspoon garlic powder
- 1quart unsweetened coconut water, plus more if desired
- 1(16-ounce) container silken tofu, drained
- Ricotta, for serving (optional)
- Finely chopped parsley, for serving (optional)
Step 1Cut off the broccoli stems, then cut the stems into 1-inch-thick slices. Separate the florets into small pieces. Reserve the stems and florets separately.
Step 2Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high and add the olive oil. Stir in the onion, carrot, tomato, sweet potato and the broccoli stems, spread in an even layer and season generously with salt and pepper. Let the vegetables on the bottom sear without stirring until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 3Add the garlic powder and stir with a wooden spoon to hydrate the spice in the fat and continue cooking for another minute or so. The tomato will start to break down and get jammy.
Step 4Add the coconut water, raise the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Cover, lower the heat to keep the soup at a gentle boil and continue cooking until all of the vegetables are mostly softened and the stock is imbued with savory flavor, about 10 minutes. For a creamier texture, remove the broccoli stems to snack on or discard; for more broccoli flavor (and roughage), leave the stems in.
Step 5Stir in the broccoli florets and tofu, raise the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Cover and cook until a paring knife easily cuts the stem part of a broccoli floret, 8 to 10 minutes.
Step 6Carefully ladle the contents of the pot into a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed, then add more coconut water or water to thin out the soup to your desired thickness.
Step 7Serve hot in shallow bowls, each serving dolloped with a spoonful of fridge-cold ricotta, if using, and lightly drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled with herbs, if desired.