My dad, Kimball, is my buddy, bestie, and pun-partner. We do father-daughter trips, enjoy similar varietals of red wine, watch the same television shows so we can have discussions and inside jokes, gush over our mutual love of dogs, non-verbally communicate in a weird situation with a glance that says, “We are so chatting about this later,” and text Saturday morning crossword clues and answers to each other (he always sends me the food-related ones). Nevertheless, as similar as we are in the everyday, we couldn’t be more different in our professional lives and skill sets.
My dad is a chemical engineer, holding the moniker, Mr. Science. He’s a business man, amateur astronomer, GQ reader, runner, enjoyer of obscure Italian literature, hipster glasses wearer, enthusiastic eater, and less than enthusiastic cook.
Other than the odd stack of pancakes and bowl of pasta puttanesca (his specialty, a gem of a David Rocco recipe), I’ve never eaten food prepared by my dad. But then he found Martha Rose Shulman, a food writer for The New York Times, and decided to make her creamy, creamless butternut squash soup. He asked if I’d like some for lunch (actually, he said, “I would be honoured if you tried some”––how can you say no to a dad that adorable?) when I visited home a couple of weeks ago, and, to be honest, my first thought was, I’ll take one for the team. Well, I was wrong. His soup was divine––creamy, savoury yet sweet, perfectly seasoned. Like it says in Shulman’s header notes, “This silky fall/winter puree tastes rich, though there is no cream or butter in it.”
My dad even exclaimed something along the lines of, “There’s no cream––but it tastes like there is!”
It really did though. I was impressed. I was impressed by something my dad made and it was confusing. So now he’s the Soup Guy, texting me questions about my borscht recipe, and making soup-ish things like this quick and easy vegetable korma recipe. I’m prouder than proud, and all it took to get Kimball in the kitchen was moving too far away to have dinner together [insert homesick feeling here].
My dad does alright at eating healthfully, enjoying a mostly Mediterranean diet (or so I’m told…). However, he’s extremely busy and wants fast recipes for when he comes home late from work, which is most days. I scratched down a baked oatmeal recipe that he now makes every week for quick breakfasts, and today I’m giving him this: homemade vegan cream of broccoli soup. Back away from the can opener!
Cream of broccoli soup is usually like gloopy wallpaper paste and makes you feel sleepy and terrible after eating it. In the spirit of Halloween, I will go so far as to say that most cream of broccoli soup scares me. When I eat greens, I want my greens to make me feel good, not weigh me down. And, as we enter the holiday season full of sweet treats, heavy meals, and long hours of sitting, a small reboot with a healthy green soup is just what I am, and many of you may be looking for.
Today’s not-from-a-can cream of broccoli soup recipe is not at all gloopy, nor does it have a peculiar “aroma” that makes you want to put your house up for sale (you know what I’m talking about). This soup is bright and fresh, while still remaining cozy for the increasingly cold days. A little bonus is its Halloween-y colour palette (I’m hesitant to call the soup’s grassy hue “slime” as “slime soup” sounds rather gross), just in time for October 31st, this Saturday, if you can believe it. Before trick-or-treating or handing out candy or partying or whatever it is you’ll get up to, I encourage you to have a big bowl of healthy, vibrant, verdant broccoli soup before you get, to quote my brother, “Chocolate wasted.”
Take note, Soup Guy, I expect this for lunch when I come home next.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound (1 bunch) broccoli, stems included, roughly chopped
- 3½ cups no salt added vegetable stock
- ¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves or packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ground black pepper, to taste
- thick coconut milk (for dairy-free) or heavy cream or plain yogurt or grated aged cheddar, for serving
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic, reduce to medium-low, and sauté for 10 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown. Add broccoli and stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10–15 minutes, until broccoli is very soft. Stir in mint or basil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Transfer soup to a blender (you may need to do this in batches) or puree in the pot with an immersion blender. If using a blender, place a kitchen towel over the vent to prevent hot splatters and blend on low, gradually increasing speed until smooth; transfer back to pot. If using an immersion blender, blend in pot until smooth. Warm over medium until steaming hot. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a swirl of coconut milk or cream or yogurt or cheddar and leaf of mint or basil. Serve hot.