Broccoli Soup

Special vegan ingredients? No thanks.

I’m a historian, and part of my interest in cooking is to see what people might have eaten a long time ago. I like to cook using only ingredients that I really understand where they came from. That means I don’t like to use soy milk, vegan butter, and things like that. But I do often like to eat vegan meals. I find that with a little thought and planning, you can make lots of excellent vegan meals using only traditional natural local ingredients. For example, in this soup the vegetarian version calls for yogurt to make it thicker, but if instead you add rice at the beginning and puree it, you’ve got a thick soup and it’s still vegan. I know where rice and broccoli come from, and onions and celery.

How to make broccoli soup:

Fill a large saucepan half full of water and set it over high heat to boil. Meanwhile, chop up the florets from one big stalk of broccoli, and compost the stems. Also chop an onion and two stalks of celery. When the water boils, put in the broccoli. Add a cube of chicken or vegetable bouillon too, or use frozen soup in place of some of the water.

While the broccoli is cooking, put a medium-sized frying pan on another burner and turn it to medium heat. Heat 1/8 cup of olive oil in the pan and saute the chopped onion and celery in the oil. When the onions and celery are soft, add two tablespoons of flour and stir to make a roux. Cook the oil and flour together for about a minute, stirring the whole time, until they are really cooked together. Then scoop out a cupful of the soup water and slowly add it to your roux, stirring the whole time, until it blends and makes a thin sauce.

Pour the sauce, with the onions and celery, into the saucepan with the broccoli. Remove from heat and puree with the immersion blender, then put the soup back on the heat and bring it to a boil. Once the soup is hot, take it off the heat and add a cup of Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup of chopped basil, one teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper. Reheat if necessary, but don’t boil the soup after the yogurt is in it.

Serve hot, right away, with crackers or bread.

Vegetarian or vegan?

Vegetarian. You can make broccoli soup vegan by adding 1/2 cup of rice right at the beginning when you put the water on to boil, and leaving out the yogurt at the end.

And will broccoli soup keep?

No, broccoli soup has a tendency to taste a little bitter the next day.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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