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Vegetarian Cream of Vegetable Soup

Updated on November 26, 2014

Soup: Healthy, and Oh, So Creamy!

When I was a kid, my mother made soup out of leftovers, and she was thrifty. She saved everything, right down to the water she'd used to boil the spaghetti. She didn't save leftovers in Tupperware containers (ah, no, not my mother!) but in glass jelly jars. One of the things I learned from her: A person doesn't need a recipe (or a license) to make soup!

Split pea was one of only a couple soups my mother dished up that went by any sort of name besides 'soup'. Me, I do soup a bit differently . Unlike my mother's concoctions, most of mine are variations on things that do have names. I won't say that I follow recipes because I don't use measuring spoons, but I do have preferences when it comes to ingredients. One soup I do make that comes with quite a bit of leeway, ingredient-wise: cream of vegetable soup -- also known as 'cream of whatever's in the fridge'.

One can make a creamed soup out of most vegetables, and the process is largely the same. I am going to share my steps for making a creamed vegetable soup that is vegetarian, a bit healthier than traditional versions, and can easily be made vegan. (It's a non-vegetarian misnomer that vegetable soups are vegetarian; many creamed vegetable soups contain chicken broth.)

Make Your Soup Creamy...

Without Using Heavy Cream.

Creamed soups can be made without heavy cream if you use a thickener. If you choose wisely, the soup will still have a delicate flavor. Whatever other vegetables you're using, it is a good idea to throw in a chopped potato. If you have cooked potatoes on hand, wonderful -- you can toss them in at the same time as the other vegetables. Frozen diced potatoes are another option for quick dining. If you're starting with raw cut potato, you'll want to start boiling it 15-20 minutes earlier -- let it get soft before you add the quicker cooking vegetables.

Corn starch is another good thickener. Add a tablespoon of cornstarch to a cup of cold water, and mix the concoction until it's sauce-like. Slowly stir the sauce into the simmering soup. If you want to add more for a thicker consistency, that's fine, but always mix the cornstarch with cold water first. If you dump cornstarch into hot water, you'll get lumps.

Garbanzo flour adds taste and nutrition as well as texture. A plus is that they add a bit of plant-based protein.

Rice can also be used as a thickener, but, unlike potato, it does need pureeing. (I have personally never used rice in a creamed soup, but I know some people do.)

Chia seeds are a super nutritious thickener, though it takes some time for them to work to their full potential.

If you want a very quick option that is veggie but not vegan, you might want to take a trip to Trader Joe's. I have taken to keeping a bag of Trader Joe's frozen mashed potatoes in the refrigerator. The mashed potatoes are in small biscuit shaped pieces. If I toss a few in, I can have a thick, semi-homemade soup that cooks in about five minutes. It is indeed possible if I use other quick cooking vegetables. One option is to use other frozen vegetables; I keep frozen diced onions on hand, as well as frozen spinach. Sometimes, though, I opt for fresh greens; spinach and chard leaves also cook up quickly. The mashed potatoes give a pleasing flavor, and, unless one is very heavy-handed with those potatoes, the end result is lower in sodium than a traditional commercial soup. (I use no added salt when going this route.)


Vegan Cream of Cauliflower Soup... With Coconut Milk

The word "creamy" connotes flavor as well as texture. Thankfully, there is coconut milk! This vegan recipe uses Indian spices as well as lots of fresh onions and cauliflower.

Make Your Soup Flavorful...

Without chicken broth

I like to use a mixture of vegan 'chicken broth' and milk. If you are vegan, you can substitute soy, rice, coconut, or even quinoa milk. You will want to select a milk that isn't sweet. Garlic, mushrooms, and onion can also add to the flavor of your broth. You can sautee them in your favorite healthy oil, tossing the garlic in after the onion has gotten translucent. (If you're pressed for time or want to drastically reduce fat content, sprinkle in a little powdered garlic instead.)

The other key to flavorful soup is, of course, the seasonings. What are some good seasonings for cream of vegetable soup? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme -- also dill and ground black pepper. Most of the seasonings combine very nicely together, but you might want to choose dill or sage, not both, as they add a different character to soup. Be careful about using too much sage or the flavor will be too much like Thanksgiving dressing!

Vegan Chicken Bullion

This is my favorite broth powder for use in a wide variety of recipes: soup, dumplings, and vegetarian stuffing. We used to buy the product in bulk when I lived in a housing cooperative, and it worked well for us. (We had a vegetarian meal program, though not all the residents were vegetarian.)

Vegetarian Broth Powder No-Chicken 1lb
Vegetarian Broth Powder No-Chicken 1lb

An easy -to-use broth vegan broth powder that is appropriate for use in soups, stews, and other recipes.

 

Toss in Some Vegetables

...and Cook Them Just Right

There are many vegetables that work well in creamed soup: potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, asparagus, leafy greens, mushrooms...

Are there any that don't work? Well, I'd hesitate to use tomatoes as they'd change the flavor of the broth quite a bit -- the same probably goes for sweet potatoes. In general, I think bland or savory flavors work better than sweet ones, but adding a little corn or carrot is not uncommon.

If you are using cooked vegetables, like the leftovers in your own fridge, you can toss them all in the pot together. If you are using fresh vegetables, do remember to let the potatoes get soft before you toss in the other veggies. Spinach can wait until the last five minutes before you take the pot off the stove, and fresh parsley is best added at the very end; it makes a tasty garnish. (You can visit TLC Cooking for additional information on vegetable cooking times.)

How long does the soup need to cook? It's a good idea to let everything but the green leafy vegetables simmer together for half an hour so the flavors can mingle. (But that's if company is coming!)

Keep frozen veggies on hand to simplify soup making. Cauliflower freezes very well.

Some Could Write a Whole Book...

Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons
Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons

Here you will find soups for all seasons, arranged by season: traditional vegan fare as well as recipes with dairy or meat substitutes. You'll also find basic information about choosing seasonings and other soup ingredients, plus vital nutrition information. The author suggests rice milk or 'silk' soy creamer for those creamy soup concoctions.

 

Like soup?

Slurp, slurp?

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    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 4 years ago from United States

      Sounds like I need to get some Trader Joe's frozen mashed potatoes! Thanks for all of the helpful advice

    • Nanciajohnson profile image

      Nancy Johnson 4 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      I LOVE soup. I always wanted to open a place that only served soup. I make a pot full of veggie soup every Sunday to eat on during the work week. Everything in my fridge goes into the pot. I too do not measure. This is a wonderful lens.

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      I love soup! I would have to substitute some rice flour, perhaps, to make it gluten-free, but in the winter, soup is a must-have for me. Happy Vegetarian Day on Squidoo! SquidAngel blessed! B : )

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes a lot. I cook soup often and with a lot of vegetables, it is much cheaper and easy.

    • TwistedWiseman profile image

      TwistedWiseman 5 years ago

      Yes I do, I can't imagine any meals without it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      enjoy a good cup of soup, especially this time of year when its cold outside, enjoyed your article this morning.

    • Adriana Daniela profile image

      Adriana 5 years ago from New Market

      I love soups, and they are really easy to make! Great, informative lens.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice

    • sarahjcar profile image

      sarahjcar 5 years ago

      Im on a spinach buzz right now, going to try that spinach soup link this week!

    • verkeerd profile image

      verkeerd 5 years ago

      I adore creams, you can bet I'll try some of the recipes. Great lens!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 5 years ago

      Mmmm - you've motivated me to scrounge my fridge and see what I can use in soup.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Personally I love creamy soups esp. chicken cream of mushroom soup! Guess that would be out of place here! Thanks for the great soup ideas. :)

    • ShariBerry profile image

      Sharon Berry 6 years ago from Michigan

      I love creamed soups and these tips and recipes sound scrumptious. Can't wait to try some. Also nice that they are very healthy.

    • profile image

      GrinningFool 6 years ago

      Tasty looking recipe! Will be sharing this with my daughter!

    • profile image

      RecipePublishing 6 years ago

      Yummy!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wonderful offering of vegetarian soups! They all sound delicious. I love the idea of Cream of "whatever's in the fridge" Soup.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 6 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I love soup.

    • Debbie-Dunn profile image

      Debbie-Dunn 6 years ago

      Thank you for this great lens. I liked it a lot.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image

      The Gutter Monkey 6 years ago

      My stomach enjoys your lens.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 6 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Yum! This is going on my "to try" list! =D

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 6 years ago

      Stopping back in to say...May the luck of the Irish be with you today...*blessed and featured on http://www.squidoo.com/my-angel-wings :*

    • jvsper63 profile image

      jvsper63 6 years ago

      That sure looks good..Joni

    • Joy Neasley profile image

      Joy Neasley 6 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I love veggie soups.

    • profile image

      TWOnline2 6 years ago

      i love soup soooooo much.

    • profile image

      scar4 6 years ago

      I like what jgelien have said "There is nothing more warm and satisfying than homemade soup." thanks for presenting it!

    • profile image

      jgelien 6 years ago

      This sounds so yummy. There is nothing more warm and satisfying than homemade soup. Thank you for sharing.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 6 years ago

      Your soup sounds delicious!

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 6 years ago from USA

      * SquidAngel Blessed * for a deliciously wonderful lens. I LOVE cream soups, but I don't make them often enough. These are wonderful ideas I will com back to!

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Love this soupy lens about my favorite type of soups: them creamy ones. Some people still call me Chef Cream, you know...

    • clemency lm profile image

      clemency lm 6 years ago

      Lovely lens, now I know what to cook for dinner tonight. I use the throw anything in method when i make soup, and it normally turns out ok!

    • The-Java-Gal profile image

      The-Java-Gal 6 years ago

      I love soups in the winter. I love that this is more about basic ideas than an actual recipe. My kind of cooking. Great lens.

    • freaknoodles1 profile image

      freaknoodles1 6 years ago

      Yum! I love the nickname 'cream of whatever's in the fridge.' :) I'm featuring this lens on my lens about how to make vegetable broth. Thanks for sharing!

    • retta719 profile image

      Loretta 6 years ago from United States

      Great tips! Fall is finally here and I'm jotting down new soup ideas and getting ready to crank out the crock pot for some fresh soups on chilly days. Do you use a stick blender to smooth everything out when you're done?

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Potatoes sound like a good thickener. I usually add a canned cream soup. Thanks for the tips.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 7 years ago

      What a wonderfully delicious all about Vegetarian Cream Soup article - with lots of advice and tips! A big yes to trying these ideas for sure!

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      Mmmm. This looks so yummy!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      Looks delicious, I'll be coming back here next time I make a batch of soup. :)

    • profile image

      poutine 7 years ago

      Lovely lens.

      I love cream of vegetable soup and make it often.

      Poutine

    • Ram Ramakrishnan profile image

      Ram Ramakrishnan 7 years ago

      Pleasing lens layout. Would induce even people like me who look upon food and its consumption as a necessary evil to stay alive to do more exiciting things, change their outlook. 5*