Friday, February 1, 2013

Broccoli cheezy soup -- a decadent meal in a bowl

It all started with the squasheeta.

I came across this recipe for "butternut squasheeta" and had to try it, partly because I'd never made a squash-based cheez recipe before, but mostly because I loved the name.  I mostly followed the recipe -- I included a generous tablespoon of the optional miso, and only used one teaspoon of olive oil to roast the squash, which turned out to be plenty -- and it was great.  I made this ahead of time and didn't use any water.  It was velvety and thick and beautifully orange (and like an idiot, I didn't take a picture).  When it was time to actually eat it, I heated up the portion we were going to use with some plain unsweetened soy milk to take it from a spread to more of a sauce consistency.

The only problem with this orange goodness is I was having trouble fitting it into my meal planning.  See, a standard dinner at my house is starch, legume, vegetable.  Butternut squash is a starch, but squasheeta cries out to be eaten with more starch -- over pasta if you eat pasta, or rice, or a baked potato.  The first night we had it, I ate it with rice, broccoli, and a side of baked tofu.  That was good, but after that I was having trouble figuring out how else to eat it.

Yesterday it occurred to me to make it into soup.  I had about half the squasheeta left at that point, and I knew I wanted to add protein so the soup could be a complete meal.  Silken tofu to the rescue!  Here's what I did:

Broccoli Squasheeta Soup

Makes 2 meal-sized servings

About 1/2 recipe butternut squasheeta
12-oz package silken tofu (I used extra firm)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 T lemon juice
1 generous T white miso
unsweetened, plain nondairy milk of choice (I used almond, because that's what was available)
1 lb broccoli florets

First, put some nutritional yeast in your cat's food dish, so he doesn't drive you nuts while you're cooking.  Actually, lock the more rambunctious cat in the bedroom, and give the more well-behaved one (who also knows how to open doors) some nooch in his food dish.

Puree the silken tofu until it is very smooth.  I was feeling lazy so I just dumped it in the cooking pot and used my immersion blender.

Add the squasheeta and stir to combine.  Now you have a  yellow mass of creamy goodness that tastes kind of bland.

Add the nooch, lemon juice, and miso, and use the immersion blender again to combine and make very smooth.  Turn on the stove

Slowly heat up the soup mixture, stirring in milk of choice until you get to the consistency you want.  At some point you will want to cover the pot because it'll start blorping and spitting all over the stove.

Add your broccoli florets.  I used frozen broccoli and dumped it directly in the soup.  You could also use either fresh or frozen and cook it separately.  When the soup and broccoli are hot all the way through, it's done!

Tell the cat he'll get his when you're finished.

My girlfriend pronounced this the best cheezy soup I've ever made.  I'm thinking it's the super smoothness of the squash and tofu.  In the future, if I didn't already have squasheeta on hand, I think I would just use some plain baked squash, processed until it was super smooth, and add additional miso, lemon, nooch, and maybe some garlic powder.  If you're allergic to soy, you could follow Jo Stepaniak's suggestion and use pureed white beans instead of tofu, but it won't be as rich and decadent tasting.

It was really good with some of this sprinkled on top:

 My latest Trader Joe's purchase.  Smoked paprika, garlic, and salt in a cute little grinder.  Essentially, it's calorie-free vegan Bac-os.  Om nom nom.

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