Recipes, Photography, Musings

Tag: vegetarian soups

Broccoli Buttermilk Soup

Warm, nostalgic comfort in a bowl, that is what I think when I taste a spoonful of this broccoli buttermilk soup.  It is creamy without being too heavy, and the buttermilk gives it an extra tangy flavor that blends well with the broccoli and herbs.  Two percent milk keeps this soup fairly light while still allowing it to deliver that smooth comforting taste we associate with broccoli soup.  Top it with some shredded cheddar cheese, and it is even tastier!

broccoli buttermilk soupCold, gray skies make me long for soup.  Uncertain times and difficult situations make me long for soup.  Soup soothes a heart that is in need of comfort.  Whether there is turmoil out in the larger world or turmoil in our daily interactions, the act of making soup is an act of positive creation, and a steaming bowl of soup represents the intent of that positive creation.

broccoli buttermilk soupThe richness, the creaminess, offset by the earthy flavor of the broccoli, has such a grounding, calming, and nourishing effect.  This recipe is based on one I found in my Hollyhocks & Radishes cookbook by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson.  It is quick and easy to make, and tastes great for lunch or as a side dish with a sandwich for a cozy dinner.  Broccoli soup is a classic soup that has so many positive associations and memories for me.  Sometimes a classic, nostalgic soup is just what a person needs.

With the weather so gray and with no snow on the ground, we have been doing some indoor things this month.  One very simple and fun trip was to the conservatory at the botanical gardens near us.  What a great place to visit in the winter!  The air in the conservatory is warm and humid, and there are beautiful plants and flowers blooming everywhere.  It’s like being magically transported to a tropical paradise for awhile!

broccoli buttermilk soupAnother fun winter trip was to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  My son is a car enthusiast, and so my husband’s brother and his wife, who know their way around Detroit, took us to the auto show and on a tour of part of the city as well.  We thoroughly enjoyed this day, and Detroit is a city rich in history and positive aspects.  One unexpected bonus of that day was listening to a concert by a jazz band from the Detroit School of Arts.  Very inspirational for my kids, who both love music.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you are looking for a broccoli soup recipe, this one is really delicious!  Stay warm and take care!  I will be sharing this recipe over at Angie’s virtual potluck, Fiesta Friday.  And I am sharing this quote that caught my eye today:  “Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh  broccoli buttermilk soup

Broccoli Buttermilk Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Print


  • 1/2 of a medium sized onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoons of dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds of broccoli (or about 2 large heads of broccoli), chopped to the size you want it
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of milk (I used 2% milk)
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • a dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • shredded cheddar cheese for the top (optional)


In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.  Sauté the onion until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the broth and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, and then add the chopped broccoli.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the broccoli is tender.

In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and continue to stir with the whisk until it is bubbly and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and buttermilk and stir until the mixture just thickens.

Add the milk mixture to the chicken broth/broccoli mixture.  Continue to stir until everything is combined and very hot, but do not allow the soup to boil.  Adjust the seasonings to your taste.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.  Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from Hollyhock & Radishes by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson.



Potato Soup with White Beans

potato and white bean soupSpring never arrives smoothly here in Michigan, and the weather swings back and forth like a pendulum.  Some days are as warm and sunny as a dream (like today), with flowers and buds popping out everywhere, while some days are bone-chillingly cold, wet, and windy (like 3 days ago).  It was a cold, wet, and windy spring day when I put this soup together in my warm, cozy kitchen.  This recipe is a great way to use some staples in your pantry and make that grocery budget stretch a little further.  And it is healthy, hearty, and really tastes delicious too.  My husband and son are big fans of this soup.

Potatoes, great northern beans, onions, and carrots all keep really well and can be easily eaten at any time of the year.  I used golden carrots this time, and brightened up the soup with chopped fresh parsley from the plant on our windowsill.  As spring produce comes in, I can imagine serving it with a side of asparagus or fresh new greens.  The tablespoon of tomato sauce adds body and flavor to the soup, but it is optional.  We almost always have a jar of tomato sauce in the refrigerator for one thing or another, so it was easy to grab a tablespoon of it to add to the simmering pot.

vegetables on cutting boardThis soup is very easy, and does not take more than thirty minutes to make.  I am on a continuing quest to make meals from as many whole foods as possible, while keeping an eye on both the time involved and the grocery bill.  I feel that this soup recipe fits in with my ongoing quest.  Of course it is nice to splurge sometimes, both with time and money.  And it’s not realistic for us to eat healthy, whole foods one hundred percent of the time.  But with a little planning, it doesn’t always have to be expensive and time-consuming to eat in ways that are good for our bodies and good for our planet.  And truly, foods that are good for our bodies and the planet taste really, really delicious!

Have a great weekend! Spring is a time of great promise and new life, and lots of labor to bring our seeds to fruition.  Our cherry trees are in full blossom and some vegetable seeds are coming up. This quote seems fitting for this time of year: “Happiness held is the seed; Happiness shared is the flower.” –John Harrigan vegetables on porchpotato soup on porch

Potato Soup with White Beans and Carrots

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print


  • 2 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small disks
  • 3 cups of potato, scrubbed and chopped into small cubes
  • 15 ounces of cooked white beans (I used great northern beans), drained and rinsed
  • 6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce


Wash and chop the vegetables.  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.  Swirl the oil around to coat the bottom of the pot.  Sautee the onions and carrots for about 5-7 minutes, until soft, stirring frequently.  Add the broth and potatoes, and bring to a boil.   Reduce the heat, and simmer at medium-low heat for about 12 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender.  Add the beans, and cook over low heat until heated through.  Then add the tablespoon of tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste, depending on how much salt is in your broth.  Serve with a salad, sandwiches, or cheese and crackers. Enjoy!