The Best Cooked Veggies For Blending Into Pureed Soups

Turning firm, chunky veggies into a creamy, silky-smooth pureed soup is quite an accomplishment, and it requires a few tricks to get there. But even if you execute everything perfectly, some cooked veggies just puree better than others. Fall options like pumpkin, peeled sweet potato, butternut, and acorn squash are all tasty choices, along with broccoli, peas, turnips, and potatoes, and the trifecta of most soups, celery, carrots, and onions. In fact, these veggies blend so well that they're often featured as the starring ingredient in their own soups, such as split pea soup, silky cream of celery soup, and Thai-style butternut squash soup.

These choices all work well because they're thick and soft once cooked, but there are some that you'll want to leave out of pureed soup recipes. For instance, lettuce, radishes, green bell peppers, portabella mushrooms, and cucumbers typically contain over 90% water, so they could turn your creamy soup into a thin mess. And, immersion blenders may have a tough time creating a uniform consistency out of stringy foods like green beans and bok choy, or other fiber-filled veggies, such as spaghetti squash and eggplant. 

The best ways to prep for a veggie puree

It's essential to cook your veggies before blending — otherwise, they may not be soft enough. First, cut them into uniform cube sizes so they'll cook evenly, and make sure you don't throw any foods with shells or peels in the mix. To be safe, steam them over the stove or simmer them in a stockpot with a liquid like broth or water until tender, and stop there (cooking them for too long could result in a watery mixture). Or, if you'd rather go with a hands-off method, you can cook your veggies in an Instant Pot on high pressure for up to five minutes.

Although you can dump everything from the pot into a full-sized blender as the final step, it's much easier to use a smaller immersion blender. But if you do (carefully) transition everything into a full-sized blender, you may want to puree it in batches to get all your hot veggies completely smooth. Then, for a final boost of thickness, stir in a splash of cream, or, if you're dairy-free, a little coconut cream or soy milk.