Looking for a festive, homey, decadent soup to make for any of your holiday dinners? Whether you eat dairy free or not, you should absolutely make this Dairy Free Creamy Potato Vegetable Soup. I would put down a sizable bet that says the only person who would be able to tell it’s dairy free would be you (if you are the one who makes it!). Of all the dairy free recipes I’ve created up until now, I really think this is the one I’m most excited about, and I KNOW you will be too if you give it a try. Trust me!
Before I get to all the juicy detail about this decadent soup, please tell me I’m not the only one who associates almost any occasion with food! I’m talking vacations, holidays, parties, special events…name an event, and I bet I can tell you the food I associate with that event. For example, since I can remember (and probably before!), my mom has always made creamy potato vegetable soup for our Christmas Eve dinner. And, not to bore you with the details, but every year I feel horrible after eating the soup (insert sad face here!).
Feeling awful after eating is never fun, but it’s especially not fun when it’s Christmas Eve and we’re all supposed to be having fun opening gifts and eating treats after dinner. It was always a little less fun for me (insert another sad face here!).
I’m not trying to have a big virtual pity party over here, that’s definitely not my goal. I tell you all of the above to say that if you’ve ever struggled with or continue to struggle with food intolerances,
I FEEL YOU!
I’VE BEEN THERE!
My goal is to provide recipes that you can not only love to eat but that help you feel good during and after eating them too! My goal is to provide recipes that allow you to enjoy every bite AND feel good at the same time! No one wants to regret eating something just because they feel awful afterwards, right?
Besides wanting to eat foods that make you feel good, I can say from personal experience that it’s also important to not feel as though you’re eating so “different” than everyone else. Rather than eating chili or some other dairy-free soup that resembles creamy potato vegetable soup in zero ways, it’s way more fun to be able to experience the same type of food that everyone else is eating.
So, this year, I am taking matters in my own hands by creating this Dairy Free Creamy Potato Vegetable Soup that I can make and take to eat (and share of course!) to my family’s Christmas Eve dinner. Not only will I feel great the whole evening, I’m pretty sure everyone else is going to love it too (if they try it, that is; they will know somethings up with it coming from me! Ha ha!)!
Now that you know WHY I was committed to creating this recipe, let me tell you how EASY it is to make! Yes, it requires a blender for one small part, but it’s really basic other than that. Like, cook everything in a pot basic. Really!
While I’m not a vegan, I’m stealing a crafty little trick that is well known in the vegan cooking world. It’s cashew cream, and before you freak out thinking this sounds too weird or hard, trust me, it’s not hard at all and it will change your life (not kidding!) if you have ever wanted a rich and creamy potato soup that’s also dairy free. Sure, you could simply add thickened non-dairy milk (such as coconut or almond) but doing that just doesn’t have the same effect as adding cashew cream.
Making cashew cream is as easy as 1, 2, 3…
- Soak raw cashews in water
- Rinse and drain the nuts
- Blend the cashews with additional water into a mixture
If you’ve ever made homemade nut milk (see my homemade vanilla almond milk recipe here), then you know the steps are very similar. The difference is you won’t add as much water as you would when making a nut milk and you don’t strain the blended mixture through a nut milk bag like you might do if making nut milk. So it’s even easier than making nut milk.
One question you might have is whether you can use a different nut for this? While I haven’t tried all the lighter colored nuts (using a lighter colored nut is important so that the soup turns out to be a beautiful creamy white color) to make a nut cream, I have tried it with almonds and the result wasn’t as smooth and creamy. So, stick with the cashews. The flavor of cashews is very neutral too, which is another reason cashew cream makes the perfect dairy cream replacement.
Nutritional yeast, which is not a very well-known ingredient, is used in this soup to create a richer flavor. If you’ve never heard of it or seen it before, don’t worry! Here are the details…
- You will find it at any health focused market and possibly at more traditional grocery stores
- It’s different from yeast used for making bread because it’s not activated (it won’t create any rising or expanding of the soup)
- It’s dairy free, gluten free, soy free, egg free, sugar free, no salt added, wheat free, corn free, vegan, and there are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. In other words, it’s healthy!
- It’s fortified with several B Vitamins (Niacin, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Folic Acid and B12, which all help to boost metabolism and promote healthy skin and hair (I’ll take five helpings then please…Ha, Ha) but seriously, I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t want those benefits.
I hope by now you can see how much I LOVED how this Dairy Free Creamy Potato Vegetable Soup turned out, but it’s not just me. I didn’t say anything about the soup to my kids or husband before we all ate it and not one of them batted an eye or asked what was in the soup. The kids loved it and my husband finished ALL of the rest because he loved it so much (as I was dying inside realizing I wouldn’t have a leftover helping to eat for lunch the next day…). I was even prepared to whip out the shredded cheddar for the three of them to sprinkle on top, in case they didn’t love the soup, but I never even had to think about doing that.
One more thing, this soup is REALLY filling. Besides a small sprinkle of bacon on top (to make it even more similar to my mom’s version), there is no meat in this soup, but with all the healthy fat from the cashews and the fiber from the veggies, one bowl was plenty for dinner for me.
P.S. I promise I won’t bombard you with a ton of cashew cream based recipes in the near future, as long as you promise to make this Dairy Free Creamy Potato Vegetable Soup and let me know how it turns out for you!
Dairy Free Creamy Potato Vegetable Soup How-To Photos:
Soak raw cashews in water to soften them.
This is what a container of nutritional yeast looks like.
Add the drained cashews, nutritional yeast, and some water in a blender.
Blend until really smooth.
Cook carrot and onion until softened. Remove from the pan.
Add broth and cubed potatoes to the same pan. Cook for a bit.
Add the carrot mixture back along with small broccoli florets. Cook a few minutes more.
Add sweet pepper and cook a few minutes more.
Stir in the cashew cream.
This is my favorite coconut milk. You can use any other non-dairy milk, however, make sure it is unsweetened and plain. I feel this coconut milk has a very neutral flavor – it doesn’t taste like coconut! It will go into the soup next.
Add the coconut milk and heat through. Top with bacon (if you like), parsley, and fresh pepper.
Dairy Free Creamy Potato Vegetable Soup
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 3 cups water
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 4 medium carrots coarsely chopped
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 1/3 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 cups 1-inch pieces peeled Yukon gold potatoes about 14 ounces
- 2 cups small fresh broccoli florets
- ½ medium red sweet pepper coarsely chopped
- 2 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut milk not canned*
- ½ to 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 8 ounces uncured bacon chopped and cooked until browned and crisp (optional)
- Chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For Cashew Cream, in a large bowl combine cashews and 3 cups water. Cover; let stand overnight (or, use 3 cups of hot water and let the cashews stand for 4 hours). Drain cashews; rinse with fresh water. Drain again. Transfer cashews to a blender. Add 2/3 cup water and the nutritional yeast. Cover; blend until very smooth, scraping sides of blender as needed. Set cashew cream aside.
- In a 4- top 6-quart pot cook carrots and onion in hot oil over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are softened and just starting to turn brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic. Remove vegetables from pot; set aside. In the same pot bring broth and potatoes to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 8 minutes.
- Add carrot mixture and broccoli to potato mixture in pot. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 3 minutes. Add sweet pepper; simmer, covered, for 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Stir in cashew cream and coconut milk. Heat over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until soup is heated through. Stir in ½ teaspoon salt; taste and add additional salt as needed. Soup will thicken the longer it simmers at this point. It also thickens as it cools a bit in the serving bowls.
- Ladle soup into serving bowls. If desired, top with bacon. Sprinkle with parsley and fresh pepper.
This looks SO delicious! I am allergic to tree nuts so I can’t do cashews. What could I substitute?
Thanks, Teri! I haven’t worked out a substitute for the cashews in this soup yet, but if I do in the future I will put that in the recipe.