Sunday, October 17, 2010

Broccoli Chowder

I am so excited to share this recipe! It is a creamy, yummy and very nutritious DAIRY FREE chowder!!! I came across the recipe that inspired me on the wonderful blog - The Mommy Bowl. Deanna has many fantastic ideas so I strongly encourage you to check out her blog!

This recipe uses an ingredient I've been wanting to try for a while, but I've been a little nervous about it. The ingredient in question is nutritional yeast, it is an orange powder, with a cheesy, nutty taste. As the name suggests nutritional yeast is highly nutritious - it is a source of complete protein and is very high in vitamin B-12. One of my neighbors also recently informed me that it is helps promote lactation in breast feeding women (of course, that is NOT a concern I have at this time!). Vegans use it as a replacement for cheese in a wide range of recipes, but a lot of people have told me it is more of an "acquired taste." I am happy to report that Alfred and I both loved the flavor it added to this soup. If anything, I would have liked to have a little more! I am looking forward to trying it on pasta, in pesto and in caesar salad dressing! For those in the Lafayette/West Lafayette area, you can purchase nutritional yeast from the bulk bins at Sunspot Natural Market (FYI: Thursdays Purdue students and employees get a 20% discount!).

The recipe also uses tahini - an ingredient I am very familiar with, but that may be new to some of you. It is sesame seed paste - basically the sesame equivalent of peanut butter. It is a staple in our household. Alfred loves it for breakfast on bread with a little honey. I like it as a dip with celery, and it is a must have for homemade hummus of baba ganoush. I've also used it to make cookies (much like peanut butter) and in an Asian flavored sauce for noodles. So if you are a tahini novice and you're not sure if you want to buy a whole jar when you just need a little for this recipe - take the plunge, there is a lot you can do with it! Plus sesame seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, among other things they are a wonderful source of calcium - which makes it especially great for those who can't eat dairy! In this recipe, it adds a wonderful creaminess and richness to the soup, so I definetly wouldn't skip it!

Without further ado, here's the recipe!

Broccoli Chowder:
3 Broccoli Heads, finely chop both the florets and the stalks (at my grocery the broccoli is usually packaged in groups of three, it yielded about 5-6 cups of chopped broccoli)
1 Large Onion, peeled and diced
1 Large Carrot, peeled and diced
2 Celery Stalks, diced
4 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
1 quart Vegetable of Chicken broth (or water, which I used because I was out of homemade broth)
1 teaspoon Ground Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Cup of cooked, pureed Cauliflower (you could substitute mashed potatoes or mashed white beans)
3 Tablespoons of Tahini
1/4 Cup of Nutritional Yeast
Olive Oil for Pot
White Wine for deglazing

1) Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the onions, celery and carrots. Saute 10-15 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, saute another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly browned. Add a splash of white wine to the pot and use a spoon to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
2) Add the broccoli, broth or water, mustard, red pepper and salt to the pot. Cover and let simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
3) Transfer approximately 3 cups of the soup to a blender, along with the cauliflower puree, tahini and nutritional yeast. Blend until nice and creamy. Add this back to the pot of soup. Taste the soup and add more salt as needed.
*I wanted a chunky chowder, so I only pureed part of the broccoli - if you want a smoother soup, you can puree it all.

Serve piping hot with a nice green salad for a lovely lunch or light supper!

As usual, I've also included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays (this is a brand new blog carnival - make sure to stop by and help make it a sucess!), Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Gluten Free and Healthy, Friday Foodie, Family Food Fridays, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!


  1. This is marvelous. Right now, I am tracking down soups. I love broccoli and I love creamy. I use my immersion blender to make it creamy or I add coconut milk or Rice Dream.

    Thanks for the link.

  2. This sounds so good! Very interesting with the use of nutritional yeast, I've never tried that before. I'm always looking for soup recipes that are lighter and don't involve so much dairy, so thanks-- will have to try this soon!

  3. Thank you for the great information on nutritional yeast. I bought some about 4 months ago and never used it because I didn't know what to do with it. I'll be trying this soup and on my gf pasta for sure

  4. I like this idea of pureed cauliflower. YUM

  5. Thank you all for stopping by!

    Sweet and Savory - I adore coconut milk, in fact I made a tasty and quick dinner on (meatless) Monday with cauliflower, coconut milk and curry powder!

    Karen and Judee - I hope you both like the yeast, I was afraid it would be overwhelming, but it wasn't at all! Please let me know what you think if you try it!

    Brenda - Cauliflower is great for so many things - I used to thicken a corn chowder - but it is also great finely minced in the food processor and then sauteed as a substitute for rice. I have to avoid grains, so cauliflower rice has become one my staple side dishes!

  6. what a great blog!
    looks so delicious!

    have a nice time!

  7. I saw this recipe at Lisa's Gluten Free & I think it rocks! I'm so glad to find your blog, it's great! I host a healthy recipe swap every Friday & would love to see you there. :)

  8. Hi Paula - Thank you for stopping by - please let me know how the recipe turns out ifyou decide to try it!

    Hi Julie - I'm so glad you found me, and I would love to take part in your recipe swap, thanks for the invite!

  9. Wow this looks great! Dairy free is awesome!

  10. What a great recipe. It looks so delicious and you'd never know it was dairy free.

  11. I've never tried tahini or nutritional yeast, but I do love soup! And cauliflower and broccoli. I add pureed cauliflower to all kinds of things. It's great for making things creamy without using milk.

    Thanks for highlighting a Vegan recipe and linking to Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays. I chose it as one of my favorites for the week.

    ♥ Rebecca Jean
    Midnight Maniac

  12. Hi Rebecca Jean - I'm love taking part in Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, and I'm honored that you selected this recipe as a favorite! I also completely agree about cauliflower - it is great for some many things!