Do you ever crave hot soup in the middle of July when it’s incredibly hot outside? I mean, you might be sweating just to walk outside to pick some ice cream. So what do you do when you want to enjoy the deliciousness of a creamy soup but don’t want to sweat while eating it? Make raw soup! I know, know. It sounds weird. I thought that raw soups were weird for the longest time. Until I made this Raw Broccoli Soup and became a convert.
Unlike hot pureed soups that are designed for comfort – such as this Creamy Butternut Squash Soup or this Cream of Mushroom Soup – raw, slightly warm soups should wake you up, taste intensely of their key ingredients, and zing with freshness. This Raw Broccoli Soup is no different and you’ll fall in love with it even if you don’t like broccoli. Sounds like a bold promise? Read on . . .
Broccoli is one of those things that many people can’t handle eating. Growing up, I was no exception. I loved tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet peas, but couldn’t stand any cruciferous vegetables, broccoli included. So if you don’t like the taste of cruciferous vegetables, there’s actually an interesting explanation why that’s the case.
There are five flavors that we taste in food – sweet, salty, umami (savory), sour, and bitter. The most popular are the sweet and the salty flavors. From biological perspective, our bodies crave salt (sodium) because of its numerous life functions from the cellular level to nervous system control. Sweet flavor is associated with survival as well because sugar is our main source of fuel and energy. Savoriness, by definition, means good taste so that’s a favorite one as well.
But then there is sour and bitter taste, which many people don’t like. There’s actually a really good reason for it – sour and bitter flavors alert us to foods that might be toxic or harmful. Vegetables, although very healthy, do have a component of bitterness to them. This could be from a low level of toxins created by the plant to avoid being eaten, or a kind of bitterness camouflage to make an animal think the plant is toxic. The good news is that once you understand why vegetables don’t taste good to you or your children, you can work with that knowledge to make them more appealing.
I have no doubt that you’ll love this Raw Broccoli Soup even if you don’t like broccoli. The recipe is adapted from Alissa Cohen’s cookbook Living on Live Food and it’s so yummy! It’s not hot, but it’s not cold either because the blender warms the soup up. It’s thick and creamy and nutty and very un-raw-broccoli-like.
Tips for Making the Perfect Raw Broccoli Soup
Start with whole broccoli – I know you can buy pre-chopped broccoli, but I would highly advise against it. First of all, pre-chopped broccoli has a tendency to dry out, which results in less flavor when you blend it. Second, pre-chopped broccoli usually includes only the florets and not the stems. However, since the stems have much less bite than the florets, you want to use them as well. So buy whole broccoli and chop it yourself.
Go organic – local broccoli is unlike no other. I know that organic food tends to be more expensive, but if you want to have the best-tasting broccoli soup, organic broccoli is the way to go.
Play with the flavors – as I’ve already mentioned, the most popular flavors are salty, sweet, and savory.
- The best flavor for overcoming bitterness is saltiness. It also goes well with vegetables, which have natural salts in them. Salt can come in the form of pure salt, tamari, miso, or ground seaweed (such as kelp).
- Sweetness can’t neutralize bitterness in the same way saltiness can, but enhancing the sweet flavor can help make a dish more delicious overall. Using a small bit of sweetener is the trick Italians use to make tomato sauce so good. My favorite sweetener is maple syrup, but you can also use raw honey (if not vegan). A small amount goes a long way so be careful you don’t add too much.
- Savoriness adds punch and overpowers bitterness. You can think of it as a little boost of flavor. When I make this broccoli soup, I like to add a bit of miso or even steep some dried kombu to make stock and use it instead of just plain filtered water. These umami boosters are instant flavor game-changers.
Add avocado for creaminess – avocados lend the same creamy texture and unctuous richness without the use of any diary. Avocados are rich, buttery, creamy, and even slightly sweet if you use them in this recipe. You can use avocados to create creamy dishes where you’d normally reach for butter, milk, or even cream. And just in case you’re wondering, you really can’t taste the avocados at all.
Use cashews to dress the soup up – it’s amazing how a swirl of vegan cashew cream can transform this soup into a dreamy wonderland of goodness. I consider cashew cream one of secret vegan ingredients everyone should know of. Cashews are not only rich and creamy, but they also add a hint of natural sweetness.
Use a high-speed blender – blending works wonders for hiding the taste of bitter vegetables. I would highly recommend using high-speed blender as opposed to just a regular blender or even an immersion blender. The goal is to not only achieve smooth and creamy texture, but also heat up the soup slightly.
This Raw Broccoli Soup celebrates not only health, but also a whole lot of deliciousness. It’s like a tasty shot of health. So if you’re like me and a raw head of broccoli just doesn’t do it for you, try this earthy and delightful soup. You’ll be amazed at how mouth-watering and delectable it is.