It's a Miracle!  Creamy Broccoli Soup with Basil-Pea Pesto

It’s a Miracle! Creamy Broccoli Soup with Basil-Pea Pesto

The next time you’re grocery shopping for a versatile food to keep in the kitchen, look no further than broccoli!  Broccoli is great as a snack, in soups, salads, pesto and even pizza.  Being a year round vegetable, almost all broccoli in the United States is grown in California, primarily in Salinas Country where it is in season March through December.  For the other months, you can look to it’s neighbor, Arizona, where broccoli grows in the Yuma Valley November through March.  Broccoli is member of the cruciferous family, along with cabbage, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts, and is filled with vitamins, minerals and and fiber.  It’s also packed with phytochemicals, which are natural substances found in plants that protect against certain types of cancers and heart diseases.

Other fun facts about broccoli:

  • Broccoli got it’s name from the Italian word, “brocco,” which means branch or arm.
  • Tom “Broccoli” Landers holds the current world record for eating 1 pound of broccoli in 92 seconds.
  • Today Americans eat an average of 4.5 pounds of broccoli a year  – that’s 900% more than 20 years ago!
  • In the United States, broccoli was probably first grown by immigrants from Italy in home gardens in Brooklyn, New York. In 1923, a group of Italian vegetable farmers in Northern California started to grow broccoli commercially and in a few years they were shipping fresh broccoli to Boston and New York.

Now that we’ve got the scoop on Broccoli, let’s get cooking.  A really fantastic recipe I’d like to share come’s from Robin Asbell’s book, Big Vegan, and I promise that if you make it for someone, you’ll blow their socks off!

 

Creamy Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:

1.5 lb of broccoli

1/2 cup sliced onion

2 cups basic vegetable stock

1/4 cup white rice

1 cup almond or soy milk

1 tsp salt

freshly cracked black pepper

1 pinch cayenne

Pesto

1/2 cup fresh basil

1/2 cup frozen peas thawed

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp pine nuts

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

almond or soy milk as needed

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

1.  Peel and chop the broccoli stems, reserving the florets.  Put the stems and onion in a big pot and add the 2 cups stock and the rice.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat.  Simmer until the vegetables and rice are very tender, about 20 minutes.  While the soup cooks, set up the steamer and bring the water to a simmer.  Steam the broccoli florets just until they are bright green.

2.  In batches in a blender or food processor, puree the broccoli stem mixture with about one third of the florets.  Put the lid on and hold it down with a folded kitchen towel so that no splatters will burn you.  Puree it until smooth, adding creamer only as necessary.  Return the puree to the pan and gently reheat it, whisking in just enough milk to make a consistency you like.  Stir in the remaining broccoli florets, the salt, pepper, and cayenne.

3.  To make the pesto: in a food processor or blender, process the basil, peas, garlic, and pine nuts until finely chopped.  With the motor running, add the oil and process until smooth.  If the mixture is very chunky, drizzle in soy milk, 2 tbsp at a time.  Add the salt and process to mix.

4.   Serve bowls of warm soup with a swirl of pesto on each.

You’ll love this!  Promise!!!!