Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Cheesy" Potato Soup: A Healthier But Still Decadently Loaded Vegan Soup for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I love when a normally fattening and unhealthy dish can successfully be made into a healthier option. The other day, I really wanted a bowl of the daily cheesy baked potato soup when I was out to lunch with a friend but knew that my arteries and butt certainly didn't need all that saturated fat. Recently buying a copy of Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook (companion to the great documentary about the dramatic health results achieved from removing meat, dairy and oils from the diet), I was pleased to see a "Cheesy" Potato Soup recipe that just begged to be tried. As did the Tofu Sour Cream recipe as a topping for this creamy bowl of yum.

Forks Over Knives says, "A warm, rich and creamy soup, this is a delicious, plant-based alternative to standard dairy-heavy, fat-laden cheese soups. Depending on your taste you can puree all of part of this soup; it will taste great either way."

Cheesy Potato Soup
Forks Over Knives--The Cookbook
(Serves 4)

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), peeled and chopped
1 batch No-Cheese Sauce (recipe below)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Saute the onion in a large saucepan over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the onions from sticking to the pan. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the vegetable broth, bay leaf, and potatoes. Bring the mixture to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove the bay leaf. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender with a tight-fitting lid, covered with a towel. Season with salt and pepper.

Return the soup to the pot if necessary and add the No-Cheese Sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Serve garnished with the green onions and parsley.


No-Cheese Sauce
Forks Over Knives--The Cookbook
(Makes about 2 1/2 Cups)

Forks Over Knives says, "This low-fat sauce makes great Mac and "Cheese" or Baked Ziti. Best of all it only takes about 5 minutes to put together. It may seem as though the recipe will not work in a blender, but with a little patience it does (and the blender makes for a creamier sauce than you could otherwise make). If your onions are strong, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes, or saute them over medium heat for about 5 minutes before adding them to the blender."

1 large yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 Tbsp cashews, toasted (optional) *see note
1 Tbsp tahini (optional) *see note
1 cup nutritional yeast
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender in the order given and puree until smooth and creamy, adding up to 1/2 cup of water if necessary to achieve a smooth consistency. 

(Note: I omitted the cashews and tahini and replaced with 4 Tbsp cashew butter)

Tofu Sour Cream
Forks Over Knives--The Cookbook
(Makes 1 1/2 Cups)

Forks Over Knives says, "Use this healthy dairy alternative in any dish that calls for sour cream. Serve it with baked potatoes and fresh chives, with tacos and enchiladas, or mushroom stroganoff."

One (12 oz) package extra firm silken tofu, drained
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Chill until ready to serve.

Notes/Results: Perfectly cheesy, creamy and decadent--this is a tasty bowl of soup that tastes like something you shouldn't be eating. I am normally the first person to tell you that nutritional yeast gives more of a cheese essence than actual cheese flavor--this soup really does taste pretty cheesy. It could easily be fed to and would probably fool many confirmed carnivores. ;-) 

I pureed about a third of the soup so there were plenty of chunks of potato. The tofu sour cream tastes like the real thing and with the green onions, parsley and a few shakes of Bac-Uns (soy "bacon" pieces) it made for a loaded baked potato-like soup with a fraction of the fat that a normal bowl of this kind of soup would have. The recipe says Serves 4, but they would be pretty big servings and it is a rich soup. I would make the soup again and will make the No-Cheese Sauce and Tofu Sour Cream again for use in other recipes.

Let's see what dishes are waiting in the Souper Sunday kitchen this week.

Joanne of Eats Well With Others is here with this unique Bean Chili with Pecans and Chocolate and says, "No, this recipe absolutely did not come about after I accidentally dropped cookie batter ingredients into a bubbling pot of stick-to-your-ribs, spice-infused, vegetable-rich chili. Never mind that I was definitely not supposed to be eating cookies at all whatsoever when I made this since it was the week before the marathon-that-wasn't and I had every intention of keeping it clean and healthy until the Big Day.  Then Hurricane Sandy happened. And, well, here's the thing. Have you ever tried to get through a natural disaster without extreme beer and/or chocolate consumption?"

Also channeling potato comfort this week, Lea Ann of Cooking on the Ranch made this gorgeous and elegant bowl of Potato Soup (Potato Creme de Fromage) and says, "My mom put Potato Soup on the dinner table at least once a week while I was growing up. Simple with ingredients, and so big on flavor, it’s definitely towards the top of my comfort food list. I make it on a regular basis also, but never seem to think it tastes as good as what she made. Probably just a childhood memory playing tricks on me, since I make it exactly like she did. ... Now and then I like to make this fancier version using Camembert and cottage cheese. It also comes with a high falutin’ name, Potage Creme de Fromage."

Dave of Inspired By has four soups to share this week starting with his NOT Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, about which he says, "I looked at a lot of recipes for a spicy sweet Thai Coconut Soup.  For whatever reason, I was not happy with anything I saw. Mainly, I am just not the kind of cook that buys a lot of single dish ingredients.  It makes things just too expensive.  While my local market has very fresh produce and I am always happy, they do not stock many exotic items.  Plus, unfamiliar ingredients still scare me a little.  So, no Lemongrass, No Fish Paste, No kaffir Lime Leaves, No Thai nam pla, or Vietnamese nuoc nam.  But there are Kansas equivalent ingredients and I did come up with a sweet, little spicy, yet still have an exotic taste and look."  

Dave also made this Root Vegetable Bisque... I Don't Need No Stinkin' Root Vegetable Bisque Recipe, saying "Soups are a great place to use up what's in your produce drawer. Well, this bisque is basically the same idea.  I am just using root vegetables (Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Carrots, Onions and Celery... Um and an Apple, just to screw up the title (and to sweeten the mix)."

Then Dave turned the bisque into this Easy Potato Stew with a Root Vegetable Base and says, "As you well know, a bisque is rarely served as a single course.  Usually you have a sandwich (or 6 more courses of food) to go with it.  I did serve the bisque with a sandwich, but had quite a bit leftover.  I decided to make a new soup from the bisque base and made an easy Potato stew with a Root Vegetable Base.  This worked great as a stand alone lunch next day."

Finally Dave wanted to share his inspiration for his Root Vegetable Bisque saying, ... the whole idea of making a soup on the fly was explored in my Chicken Vegetable Soup... I Don't Need No Stinkin' Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe post where once again I explore the virtues of making a soup on a wing and a prayer."

Janet of The Taste Space made this mean green Veggie Noodly Salad with the Ultimate Peanut Sauce and says, "...With less sweetener, less sodium AND using coconut beverage, we have a winner. A drinkable winner. The twist from the other peanut dressings comes from the bite from molasses and umami from the fermented black bean sauce. Use it to coat anything. Veggies, grains, beans, you name it. Here, I paired it with sliced carrots, thinly sliced sugar snap peas, julienned baby bok choy, kelp noodles and pea shoots."

Finally Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog has a holiday-ready Fresh Cranberry Salad Dressing for Thanksgiving to share and says, "The tart and tangy cranberry is customarily associated with Thanksgiving. Most families either eat homemade or from the can cranberry sauce as a side dish with their turkey!  Well, as a vegetarian I won't be eating turkey, but I will be adding fresh organic cranberries to many of my salads and other recipes. ... This dressing is sweet, tangy, refreshing, and most of all fast and easy to make. You'd be surprised how much you will like this dressing."

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week with their fabulous soup and salad recipes. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. The collection is gorgeous. loved going through them.

  2. I love how this is cheesy without actually being CHEESY!! I've been wanting to make a potato soup but don't want all the calories...this is the perfect solution! Also thanks for posting my entry! I felt so bad when I realized I'd forgotten to send it to you!

  3. I love how you had so many different condiments for the soup. yay for nutritional yeast! :) Thanks again for another great round-up, Deb. Lots of soups this week!


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