Be advised: I'm going to get a little soup crazy this winter. The weather has now shifted from fall to winter (about 3 weeks early) and it just feels right. I've never been a big soup person, but that seems to be changing for some reason. I started out thinking that this particular soup would be a creamy one, but at the last minute decided against running it through the blender. This was partly because my blender can be a pain to use and partly because chunky veggie soup is kind of underrated. I struggled to get a "pretty" picture of it, but trust me, this is a great soup. It's also easy and has only a handful of ingredients, which is always nice.
The flavor of this soup really depends on caramelizing the onions, so don't rush them or pull them off the heat too early. It's worth the wait.
I used a mock parmesan for this to give it some "oomph" at the end, but also to thicken the broth a bit. This parmesan is really easy to put together and, like real parmesan, goes well on all sorts of dishes. Try it on spaghetti, pizza or anything else you would normally shake a little parmesan over. The look and texture are perfect and the flavor is pretty close as well.
For the soup:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp Earth Balance, divided
1 large sweet onion, julienned (about 2 cups)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups diced Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled or unpeeled
2 1/2 cups broccoli florets, with little or no stem
3 1/2 cups veggie stock
6 basil leaves, roughly chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper
For the mock parmesan:
1 cup almond meal
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp white miso paste
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
To make the parmesan, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse it 3-4 times. Set 1/2 cup aside and keep the rest refrigerated in a sealed container.
To make the soup, combine the olive oil and half the Earth Balance in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onins and season them with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute the onions until they become caramelized. This will take some time, so resist the temptation to turn the heat up or to move on before they're really ready. It could be 10-15 minutes, depending on how hot the pot gets.
They'll start like this:
You're looking for this:
When they're about done, add the garlic and cook it until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the potatoes and stir them around to coat. Let them brown up for a couple of minutes and then add the brocolli and do the same thing.