Your whole food, plant-based life.

White Bean and Broccoli Soup (the anatomy of a recipe)

I have been focusing a lot more on creating recipes that give a big nutritional pay-off. I am always looking for ways to get more beans and cruciferous veggies in our diet. Beans and cruciferous vegetables are some of the healthiest foods we can put in our bodies and we should be eating them every day. Beans literally can increase our lifespan and cruciferous veggies are amazing cancer fighters.

 

Creamy White Bean and Broccoli Soup. Vegan and delicious!

 

Since I had a bunch of broccoli, the cruciferous star in this recipe, I decided to make a Creamy White Bean and Broccoli soup. And just for kicks, I thought you might like to walk through the process that I use when I create recipes. So, here is the anatomy of my Creamy White Bean and Broccoli Soup recipe.

This recipe did require a little pre-planning because 99% of the time, I cook my beans from dried beans. Why am I committed to this?

  1. They taste so much better.
  2. I can control the texture, how soft or al dente (firm) I want the beans.
  3. I can control the sodium. Many canned beans can have 100x the sodium.
  4. Dried beans are a lot cheaper than canned beans. Canned beans are around 3x as expensive.
  5. I can cook them ahead of time and freeze until needed.
  6. That said, using canned beans is not the end of the world. (Dr. Greger has a wonderful video on canned vs cooked beans here: Canned Beans vs Cooked Beans) and the healthiest way to use them.

I knew that I wanted to make this recipe for Monday’s dinner so I did cook my beans in advance. So, on white bean broccoli soup day, I had the beans ready to go in advance.

Over the years, I have learned it’s all about building flavor. In my dutch oven, I dry-sautéed a medium-sized, chopped onion over medium-low heat. I wanted the onion translucent and soft so I kept the heat low. I added 2 cloves of chopped garlic to the pot when the onions were ready. I ALWAYS add my garlic at the end and give it a quick sauté. You don’t want to add it at the beginning because it will burn and get very bitter.

 

Creamy White Bean and Broccoli Soup. Vegan and delicious!

 

So, now I have the onion and garlic ready. I added the water, cooked beans and half the broccoli florets. I let that simmer until the beans and broccoli were soft. I lightly steamed the other half of the broccoli florets while the other mixture was simmering. Those were set aside to add at the end.

I pureed the mixture in the blender (in two batches) and poured it back into the dutch oven, stovetop. Then it was tasting time.

Because I really wanted a creamy texture, I decided to add some cashew cream. This recipe only has 1/2 cup cashews in the whole batch. So that is about 3 cashews a serving. Just a little bit adds such a lovely mouth-feel.

Next I started the seasoning process. I threw in some nutritional yeast, a bit of salt and lemon juice to brighten the flavor a bit. But it still wasn’t where I wanted it to be. So, I added some coconut aminos (you could also use tamari or soy but start with one tablespoon and taste as you go) to build some depth. They are quite amazing and can take a recipe from good to…”oh my gosh! What’s in there?” status, quickly. The coconut aminos add umami, a lovely savoriness.

The last step was to coarsely chop the remaining steamed broccoli florets and stir them into the soup. I also added a bit of chipotle powder but that is completely up to you. I like the smoke and the tiny amount of heat it brings. I decided to top this with some toasted walnuts which is optional but I love. And walnuts seem to love to dance with broccoli, so there you have it!

I start with a basic ideas (white beans and broccoli soup), use some basic cooking techniques and then add and taste until I feel it is beautifully balanced and has wonderful flavor.

 

Creamy White Bean and Broccoli Soup. Vegan and delicious!

PS I will be posting the recipe for the bread later this week.

We are not sure if you have noticed, but over on the right hand side of this post, we have included some of the kitchen tools and ingredients used to make this dish. You can just click on the picture and it will take you to our store where you can learn more and order.

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47 Comments

  1. Christina wrote on January 26, 2016

    I made this last night and it was perfect! Oddly though there were some translucent pieces of beans floating around. Is this normal? Should I have blended longer? I used canned navy beans. Thank you for your reply.

    Reply
    • Susan wrote on January 26, 2016

      Hi, Christina, Yes, blending a bit more would take care of that. Did you use a high-speed blender? Cheers!

      Reply
      • Christina wrote on January 26, 2016

        Yes, a VitaMix. Will definitely blend longer next time. Was really hungry by the time if was blender ready! : )

        Reply
  2. Kaia wrote on January 25, 2016

    This looks so creamy and delicious, I can’t wait to make it!

    Reply
    • Susan wrote on January 25, 2016

      Thank you, Kaia! Cheers!

      Reply
  3. Anna wrote on January 25, 2016

    Wow! This is delicious. I made it last night and loved it. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  4. Adaria wrote on January 25, 2016

    Susan,

    Thank you SO much for this recipe – made the soup today and it was *delicious*! I had an extra cup of cooked beans and added them at the end with the broccoli – just perfect!

    Reply
    • Susan wrote on January 25, 2016

      You are welcome, Adaria! I am so glad you liked it. I did the same thing with some extra beans. It’s a great idea! Cheers!

      Reply
  5. linda wrote on January 25, 2016

    That’s funny, the copy i saved doesn’t have it listed! whatever. Thanks again

    Reply
    • Susan wrote on January 25, 2016

      It was updated. I am guessing you printed or saved before the post was updated. Cheers!

      Reply
      • linda wrote on January 25, 2016

        That must be what happened. It is a delicious soup though, and so easy. With ingredients I had on hand. I made the bread also, sooo filling!
        thanks again, love your blog. linda

        Reply
  6. linda wrote on January 24, 2016

    Hi,
    I made this soup yesterday. It is awesome! Just a quick question, though. In your narrative you mention lemon juice, yet I don’t see it in the ingredient list? Am I overlooking something? Thanks.
    Linda

    Reply
    • Susan wrote on January 25, 2016

      Hi, Linda, You add it when you add the nutritional yeast, etc. Cheers!

      Reply
      • linda wrote on January 25, 2016

        I understand that, just tell me how much. thanks again

        Reply
        • Susan wrote on January 25, 2016

          Hi, Linda, It is in the list of ingredients. 1/2 lemon, juice from. Which is about 1 tablespoon. Cheers!

          Reply
  7. Anne wrote on January 22, 2016

    Just the sort of thing I love. Thank you also for the insight onto your thought processes. I’m heading onto your bread next – looks divine.

    Reply
    • Susan wrote on January 22, 2016

      I am so glad you like it! Enjoy the bread, too! 🙂

      Reply
  8. Lucy Morris wrote on January 21, 2016

    Tried this yesterday, it was well received by the family & a neighbor who is healing his over acid production stomach. Everyone loved it. It tasted so “cheesy”, very delicious! I agree with you to cook the beans from scratch, I am never satisfied with canned or boxed pre-cooked beans. I used great northern beans, lower in protein, but a bit more digestible for me. Thank you so much for all your wonderful “cooked” recipes. My body was not doing well with raw in the winter. Keep those yummy hot soups coming!

    Reply
    • chris wrote on February 24, 2016

      I’m so glad someone else has problems with raw in the winter😊. Besides being incredibly expensive, it doesn’t satisfy me as it does in warmer temperatures.
      Thanks for this recipe. Going to make it tonight for dinner!

      Reply
    • Susan wrote on January 22, 2016

      HI, Lucy, I am so glad that everyone loved it. I always love hearing about that! Thank you!

      Reply
  9. Margo wrote on January 20, 2016

    Thankyou for posting this and for so many more great ideas
    you have taken the time to share!
    This soup sounds lovely and will try it soon.

    Reply
    • Susan wrote on January 22, 2016

      I am so glad you like it, Margo. And you are welcome! 🙂

      Reply

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