Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cream of Broccoli Soup (Dairy-Free)

I have a very simple, nourishing recipe for you today. Anyone remember cream of broccoli soup from your childhood? I do. My mom used to make a cheesy cream of broccoli soup that I don't remember being too fond of. Well this one is yummy, and naturally gluten and dairy-free. It can also be used during Phase 3 of the Elimination Diet for testing nuts/almonds.

Many years ago I discovered that I could use nuts to replace the cream in "creamed soups." You'll notice raw cashews in the Creamy Cauliflower Soup recipe in my cookbook (a favorite of my children). Cashew butter, almond butter, and coconut milk also work to make soup creamy without using dairy. A few weeks ago I discovered another secret "cream" for soup ~ blanched almond flour! I added it to the simmering soup before pureeing and voila! Cream Soup! 

Each time I make this soup it turns out a little different. Sometimes thick, sometimes thin. It all depends on how many pounds of broccoli you use, how much liquid, and of course the amount of blanched almond flour. Now, I bet that many of you don't have this super tasty and nutritious flour sitting around, huh? I bet you could also use blanched almonds, maybe 1 1/2 to 2 cups. Just toss them into the simmering soup whole. You are going to blend it all up anyways.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Use this soup to test for nuts during Phase 3 of the Elimination Diet. This is also a good soup to warm you up on a chilly winter day. Serve with grilled fish or chicken and cultured vegetables to maximize digestion. If nettle season has come your way, toss a handful of nettle leaves (use gloves!) into the simmering soup for added minerals. Also feel free to add in different fresh or dried herbs such as tarragon or marjoram. This soup can be frozen or made into a half batch for those with smaller families.

2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 to 3 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds fresh broccoli, stalks and tops, chopped
12 cups water or homemade vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups packed blanched almond flour
handful of fresh parsley
handful or two of freshly harvested nettle leaves (optional)
sea salt to taste

Heat an 8-quart pot over medium heat. Add olive oil then onions. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until soft and fragrant. Add garlic, herbs, and pepper.

Then add broccoli, water or stock, blanched almond flour, parsley, and nettles if using. Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.

Puree in a blender in batches and pour into another pot to keep warm. Taste and add salt as needed. The amount depends on how salty your stock is. Start with 2 teaspoons and add more as needed. Top each bowl with sautéed broccoli and fresh chives.

Kitchen Tip: Trim off the very bottom woody end of the broccoli stalk. You can even peel back, using a sharp knife, the thick outer layer of the stalk saving the tender inside for the soup (this is what I do). Source: www.NourishingMeals.com.

Thanks so much for all of the heartfelt emails you have been sending us, the thoughtful comments on our Facebook Page and all of the lovely comments you leave here. Tom and I are overwhelmed with joy that so many of you are feeling so fantastic! Life is all about feeling good! :)

More Creamy Dairy-Free Soup Recipes:

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Ali, this sounds fantastic!! Almond flour in soup, haven't thought of that one yet. Yum. I think you should make this one for me when I come visit!! :-)
    And yay for people feeling good! That IS what life is about! Xo, Em

  2. Never thought to use almond flour in soup! Great idea. In fact, GENIUS idea!

  3. Ali, what a great idea to use almond flour in soup! I can't wait to try it out.

  4. almond flour is brilliant! I will have to try it with another veggie, though, as most cruciferous (and broccoli is the absolute worst) give me horrific stomach pains, even cooked. :( Maybe roasted fennel? or asparagus?

  5. I just did a post on my own veg cream of broccoli soup. LOVE the addition of the fresh nettles. The more ways to get healing herbs into meals the better!

  6. I am endlessly amused by how in sync we are =] I also just made a cream of broccoli soup (dairy-free, of course) that is different from yours, but still—same flavor! I haven't posted it only because I didn't like my photos. Your photos and soup are lovely! Hugs, Kelly

  7. I've been waiting for this post after you mentioned this soup to me. Oh my, delicious. I'm finding almond flour is so versatile in cooking. So much of enjoying foods is what we see and this one says creamy, cream, creamy ... and healthy. ;-) Yum.

    Feeling good is what life is all about! Thanks for this recipe, Ali!


  8. I am eager to try this. My husband can't eat dairy, and your blog has given me some fresh ideas for substitutions! Thanks!

  9. I am so excited to try this in Phase 3!! We are counting down the days. Its been great to add in lemons/limes, but its getting harder and harder to come up with creative meals that are quick, flavorful and stick to the phase 2 rules. Your cookbook (and the Elimination Diet) have really opened my eyes to foods I never knew about or utilized. I will never eat oatmeal again -- I love Teff with blueberries and agave nectar for breakfast. Thanks!!

    - Megs

  10. Hi Ali!
    A thousand thanks for this blog, the cookbook, and your knowledge that sparks creativity and inspires so many!

    My question is involving coconut milk. I'm doing a dybiosis diet and am gluten/dairy free.
    I cannot have coconut or nuts/seeds (aside from pine & pumpkin.

    This soup, along with many soups/stews in cookbook have coconut milk, do you know a good substitute?
    Maybe rice or hemp milk?
    I would just hate to try (I'm just learning to cook at 22) and then have it be awful!

    Thanks! :)

  11. Here's another seriously delicious soup, that is incredibly creamy yet doesn't require any dairy. Adapted from Food & Wine.

    Velvet Corn Soup with Crab and Bacon

    Check out the full recipe (and my rants about the lousy Seattle weather) here: http://wp.me/puWta-6o

  12. Just made this soup with whole almonds as suggested and it is fantastic! (I didn't have stock so I just added in some extra onion, carrots, and celery to the mix for extra flavor - glad I did) Plan on serving this to people to see their reactions before I tell them there is no milk. :) Thanks for this new staple in my house.

  13. I just made this with coconut flour (just 1/2 cup for a huge pot) and it is thick and super yummy! My daughter's allergic to dairy and nuts, so making creamy soups has been hard. I can't wait for her to try this! Thanks Ali!

  14. I just made this for lunch and had to comment right away on how awesome it is! Thanks for such a wonderful recipe.

  15. I have been making this recipe for years and it is still one of our favorite soups. Just made it yesterday with Herbs de Province which was a very nice addition. Thank you for making delicious recipes that taste amazing and are so healthy!!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)