Everyone loves a creamy potato soup, but maybe you don’t love how it makes you feel after eating—which is typically heavy.
This potato soup recipe is completely different. Its creamy velvet-like texture feels rich and luxurious, and yet it isn’t rich at all.
This potato soup is vegan, and made without any dairy, and the heavy, starchy qualities of the potato are balanced by the addition of generous amounts of zucchini and celery, which are both light vegetables.
Potatoes are nutritious, soothing, and demulcent, but they are also starchy and heavy, so when enjoying them, you want to make sure these qualities are balanced out with lighter foods and spices for digestive support.
By adding a good amount of zucchini (as well as celery), we’ve significantly lightened up the potato, and brought balance to the heavy quality.
This healthier version of creamy potato soup is an easy and tasty way to add more vegetables to your diet.
Herbs and Spices for Digestive Support
I’ve included garlic, black pepper, and bay leaf—all with the pungent taste—to cut through the heaviness of the potato, and provide digestive support.
Garlic is very hot and penetrating. It generates heat in the body, which helps to clear stagnation and promote circulation.
Too much garlic can be too heating and stimulating for some people. It is powerful medicine, so do pay attention to how garlic makes you feel.
In this recipe, you will hardly notice it because both potatoes and zucchini are cooling, so it is well balanced.
Black pepper has similar qualities to garlic, but it is also known for dispelling and relieving gas.
Personally, I feel that black pepper is more tolerable than garlic, and I use it daily, versus occasionally for garlic.
Bay leaf is a rarity in cooking, but it ought not be. The qualities of bay leaf are clear, dry, easy, light, and hot, and it has three tastes: astringent, bitter, and pungent.
Bay leaf is a digestive and spleen tonic, it lowers blood pressure, relieves gas, and burns toxins, to name just a few of its benefits.
You can enjoy a cup of tea using bay leaf, or bay leaf and black peppercorns. Try it sometime, and see how it makes you feel.
So you can see that our soup is packed with medicinal benefits from the herbs and spices.
How Do You Make This Soup Creamy Without Cream?
To achieve it’s velvety texture, the soup is blended using an immersion blender, also known as a hand blender.
An immersion hand blender is one of my favorite kitchen tools. It’s incredibly handy for pureeing soups like this, and also for making stewed greens, hummus, whipped cream, salad dressings, etc.
The hand blender not only purees the soup ingredients, it also whips up the starch into a pleasing velvety texture. This is simply the nature of starch.
In fact, you can blend in a potato with any soup to get a creamy texture, without dairy or cream.
Creamy Potato Soup is a Canvas: Add Greens
So far, I’ve been talking about this beautiful creamy texture. It really is glorious and satisfying like a neutral canvas, but you quickly tire of it. You desire some color and interest.
This is why, for added interest and texture—and more vegetables—I suggest adding in some quick-cooking napa cabbage after the soup is blended.
This step adds body and bite to the soup itself, and it is a simple enough step.
Napa cabbage is also known as Chinese cabbage. The leaves of a napa cabbage are finer than regular green cabbage, so it cooks quicker.
If you want, you can substitute with a different quick-cooking green, such as spinach, finely chopped kale or collars, turnip greens, radish greens, etc.
Finally, a topping of bright green broccoli rabe, which is sometimes called rapini, adds a dose of the bitter taste to complete the dish.
Broccoli rabe looks like broccoli, except that it is much leafier. It is truly a leafy green that is best when cooked. Since the stalks are fine, you can chop it into pieces and sauté with a little salt.
The vegetable itself is incredibly rich and flavorful. The taste is more bitter than is typical, but you’re rewarded with rich vitamins and minerals, notably a large quantity of vitamin C.
Topping your potato soup with sautéed broccoli rabe brings in the bitter taste and adds the A-MAZE-ING flavor factor into the soup.
Since the base is so creamy and balanced, the bitter greens takes the overall flavor of this soup over the top.
This soup is spectacular. It is definitely a keeper, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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Recipe for Healthier Creamy Potato Soup (Vegan)
To start the soup
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ghee, (sub with more olive oil)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 ½ cups celery, chopped
Add to the soup
- 5 cups zucchini (summer squash) , chopped
- 3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 4 cups water
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
Add after pureeing
- 2 cups Napa cabbage, (optional; see notes)
- ½ lemon, freshly squeezed
Brocolli Rabe Topping (optional)
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups broccoli rabe, (optional)
Start the soup
- Mince garlic and chop onions. Add olive oil and ghee to a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic and onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Chop the celery and add it to the top. Turn the heat down to medium, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
Add to the soup
- Chop zucchini into 1-inch pieces. Use a vegetable peeler to peel potatoes. Chop into 1-inch pieces. Add zucchini and potatoes to the soup pot, along with the water, dried thyme, bay leaf, black pepper, and half the salt.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered. If the vegetables are soft and break apart easily, they are done. Turn off the heat and use an immersion blender (hand blender) to puree the soup until smooth.
Add the optional napa cabbage
- If you choose to add the optional napa cabbage, turn the heat back on the soup and bring to a simmer. Quickly chop cabbage and wash in cold water. Add cabbage to the soup, and simmer 5 minutes. Taste the soup for salt, and adjust to taste. Add fresh lemon to taste.
Make the broccoli rabe topping
- To make the broccoli rabe topping, remove the thicker stems, and chop into bite-sized pieces. Wash in a bowl of cold water. Heat a small skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil and the broccoli rabe. Simmer for 5 minutes, until just tender.
- Serve soup in individual bowls. Top with broccoli rabe and freshly ground black pepper.
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