A little cream does make things taste good. Things like risotto, alfredo sauce and maybe even a piping hot bowl of soup. Cream adds heft, more body if you will. Yes, cream is a mighty good thing. Sometimes. But sometimes you don’t need it. And that’s when you know you’re getting unadulterated goodness that travels from spoon to mouth. In order to cut out a few calories, you can find easy ways around the cream dilemma. Or maybe calories aren’t your concern. Perhaps you had it on your list, and dangit, you forgot! No matter. There are ways to work around that dang cream, so you still end up with a creamy, satisfying dish.
Soup is one of those guys that tastes good going down after you’ve swirled in a bit of cream. Plus, you notice how the dairy thickens up the brew. If you’re going dairy-free, you can swap out a few different thickeners that may not seem like thickeners to you at first. The list does not include flour or cornstarch either. Rather, you can go for natural thickeners–ones that live in the starch family. Pureed white rice and potatoes and breadcrumbs work well if you stir them in. Another vegetable in the starch family is corn. Once blended, the starch content is released and provides a pleasantly sweet, guilt-free creaminess. If you like your soups completely smooth, blend the entire thing for a velvety bowl ready for a spoon. Or, leave a few chunks, so each bite requires a little bit of chewing. Either way, you should be pleased with the outcome.
Corn and Basil Soup – Serves 6 to 8
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vegan butter substitute (or unsalted butter)
6 stalks celery, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
3 cups vegetable broth or water
36 ounces frozen or canned corn, drained
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 teaspoons kosher salt*
10 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a deep pot over medium high flame. Once melted and combined, add the celery, carrot,s onions and peppers. Stir well and cook until they begin to soften and the onions turn translucent, approximately 3-5 minutes.
2. Add the vegetable broth or water, corn, cumin and cinnamon, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Use a slotted spoon to take out 2/3 of the vegetables and drop into a blender. Ladle out all of the liquid in the pot and add to the vegetables in the blender. Blend until completely smooth, approximately 1-2 minutes. Pour the blended corn and vegetables back into the original pot.
4. Stir in the sliced basil and salt, making sure the remaining vegetables in the pot are fully incorporated. Serve immediately.
*If you’re using a canned or boxed vegetable broth, you may be able to side with less salt. If you’re using water, you may find that you’ll want to add more. Always season to taste.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.