I have degree in agriculture engineering and consider myself very knowledgeable about vegetables. But the first time that I saw broccoli was when I came to America. Honestly, I thought it was unripe cauliflower so I avoided eating the broccoli for a while. Of course looking at wilted overcooked broccoli did not help to change my mind.
Then one of my classmate invited me to have dinner with her family. Of course being a foreign student far away from my family I looked forward to eat with her parents and to enjoy home cooked meal. The mom cooked great meal. One of the dishes that she served was broccoli and cheese soup. As a guest, I did not want to offend my host so I took a cup and to my surprise I loved it.
The soup was delicious and very satisfying. My host gave me bowl to take with me to my room. The second day after class, I went to a bookstore and checked the recipes in few American cookbook. Well, the recipes were simple but the calories and the fat were shocking. So, I decided to make eating broccoli and cheese soup an occasional event. Until now that is.
The vegan cheddar “cheese”
Few weeks ago, when my daughter was home from collage. I made for her my famous vegan Mac and Cheese. As we were enjoying the meal, she asked if I ever tried to use the same vegan sauce to make broccoli and cheese soup. The second day, I went to the restaurant made my vegan cheese sauce, cooked the vegetables and a delicious soup is born.
Choose your vegetables. I like to add extra colors and flavors to this broccoli soup. I use red bell pepper, carrots, celery, jalapeno pepper and ginger in addition to the broccoli.
I sauted the vegetable until half cooked. I saved half of the cooked vegetable on the side before adding the broth. These saved vegetable will be added just before serving so the soup will have great texture in addition to the amazing flavors.
Add the “vegan” cheese broth to the vegetables. Add water, stir and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and then add the ginger, and the lemon zest. Adjust the seasoning and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the saved half cooked vegetables and serve.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 . arge onion, finely chopped
- 6 . stalks celery diced
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 2 . cloves garlic, mashed
- 1 . teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 . teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup medium grain rice
- 1 . 12 ounce firm plain tofu
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 4 . cups coarsely chopped broccoli
- zest of one lemon
- 4 . tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon tarragon
- salt and pepper to taste
- To make the cheese sauce:
- In a heavy post, heat half of the olive oil and saute the half of the onion for couple of minutes. Add the half of the celery and half of the carrots and continue to cook for five minutes.
- Add one clove of garlic, and the tarragon. Cook for couple minutes and then add the rice, half of the ginger and the turmeric. Stir until the rice is well coated.
- Add 6 cups of water, the salt and the pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat, stirring often, for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and overdone. Remove from the heat.
- Place the cooked rice in a food processor with the tofu and puree until you have smooth yellow paste. THIS IS YOUR VEGAN CHEESE. YOU ONLY NEED HALF OF THIS AMOUNT FOR THIS SOUP. FREEZE THE REST FOR ANOTHER TIME.
- In another pot, heat the rest of the olive oil and saute the rest of the vegetables in the oil for couple minutes. Spoon half of the vegetables onto a bowl and set aside.
- Add the vegan cheese sauce and 6 cups of water. Stir and bring to a boil stirring often.
- Add the ginger, the lemon zest and the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Turn of the heat, add back the saved cooked vegetables and serve.