Fat Is The Key To Silkier Soup Without Adding Dairy

Whether it's Moroccan harira or broccoli cheddar, soup is better when it's silky. But, as those two examples illustrate, silkiness isn't necessarily dependent on the use of dairy. While many broccoli and cheddar recipes include a healthy helping of cheddar and cream, that's not the only way to make it silky. To use less dairy, some recipes call for you to puree vegetables rather than cream, resulting in a base that's significantly lighter. Harira, a soup that is famous for its silky texture, does not traditionally include dairy and instead achieves its thickness through the addition of eggs or a mixture of flour and water. All of this goes to show that there are many ways to get silkier soup without adding dairy — fat being a key option.

To make a silkier soup without adding dairy, start by using ½ cup of your choice of fat — whether that be butter, olive oil, or rendered poultry fat — for every 4 servings of soup, and cook the vegetables you'll be using in the mixture. Then, add your broth or stock and simmer before blending until smooth. Your soup will come out nothing less than velvety. Since the broth has less dairy, you can go add all of the cheesy toppings your heart desires, from parmesan crisps to garlic butter croutons. However, if your goal is to eliminate all of the dairy from your soup, there are even more options.

Hacks for creamier dairy-free and vegan soups

To get a silky, creamy soup that's completely dairy-free or even vegan, you can still use fat. That is, as long as you use a vegan fat option. As mentioned above, olive oil is the obvious option. However, you can also use any other neutral-tasting oil or your favorite vegan butter alternative — those from Miyoko's and Melt come recommended. Then, follow along with the remaining steps in your recipe, substituting vegetable broth where chicken or beef is called for. If you find that after you've blended everything together, it's still not quite as silky or creamy as you might like, you can look to other plant-based ingredients.

When creating a creamy soup with non-dairy or vegan ingredients, one of the most obvious options is to use plant-based dairy alternatives. Most milk alternatives work well in soup, and, in some stores, you can even find plant-based heavy cream to pour into your recipes. However, if you're looking to explore other, possibly more creative substitutes, dairy-free mashed potatoes, tahini, nut butter, and beans can all be stirred and blended into your broth as a shortcut ingredient for creamier, silkier soup. If you're concerned about throwing off the flavor of your soup, a slurry made from a mixture of flour and water will add silkiness without altering the taste or color of your soup.