Pureed Veggies Are All You Need For Creamy Bean Soup Without Any Dairy

Beans come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, offering a firm exterior and pillowy interior. Throwing them into a soup is an easy way to create a hearty, rich winter meal that satisfies vegetarian and dairy-free diets. Many bean soup recipes purée half – or all – of the soup to reap the benefits of the beans' natural creaminess, but you can also amplify a bean soup's creamy consistency and nutrition simply by adding puréed veggies to the pot.

While heavy cream or a buttery roux are common creamy additions to elevate soups, puréed veggies are the best option for dairy-free diets — and can also serve as a healthy, low-calorie alternative. You can use canned, frozen, or fresh vegetables for the job. You could also repurpose any leftover roasted, steamed, or sautéed vegetables that might otherwise go bad in the fridge.

No matter which vegetables you decide to use to add a velvety texture to your bean soup, there's a one-size-fits-all method to integrate them into the mix. After making and simmering your bean soup, you'll ladle some of the hot cooking liquid into a blender, processor, or bowl with the vegetables you want to purée. Using a blender, hand emulsifier, or food processor, blend the veggies and broth until you have a uniformly smooth consistency. Then, add the puréed veggies to your pot of bean soup, and stir to combine.

Best vegetables to purée for creamier bean soup

While any puréed vegetable will create a silky addition to bean soup, there are still taste and texture factors to consider. If you want to add creaminess to bean soup with minimal effect on its overall flavor, more neutral vegetables like potato and cauliflower are the best options. Starchy vegetables like butternut squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, and hominy, and root vegetables like carrot, parsnip, and celery root offer a thicker, heftier purée. Broccoli, asparagus, and even bunches of fresh herbs are lighter options to create a creamy broth. You can choose more than one vegetable to blend as well.

If you are using canned or frozen vegetables, look for seasoned veggies that align with the flavor profile of the soup in question. For a Mediterranean chickpea or white bean soup, for example, you could look for Greek marinated canned or bottled vegetables like artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes to blend with steamed potatoes or cauliflower. Likewise, blending a can of Rotel green chilies and tomatoes with yellow corn kernels would further bolster the flavors in a pinto bean chili.

Apart from being a great thickener, puréed vegetables can also act as a flavoring agent in bean soup. For example, you could purée hominy, fresh jalapeños, and a handful of cilantro for a creamier black bean soup with a burst of savory, herbaceous spiciness. Celery root and carrot purée would also bolster the mirepoix foundation for red beans and rice or a Tuscan white bean soup.