As the mercury continues to dip lower and lower, my cravings for warm, comforting soups soar higher and higher. I love soup. But not just any soup. To me, soup needs to be thick, hearty and filling—a meal in a bowl.
Rich, creamy soups fit that bill perfectly. But often we have friends joining us who are lactose intolerant, which is not surprising given that research suggests that 50 to 80 percent of Ashkenazi Jews cannot tolerate lactose.
Lactose is a natural sugar that is found in milk; the intolerance occurs when the body cannot break down that lactose.
So, I set off to create a pareve “cream” soup that would satiate my craving for a rich, thick soup—even when serving a meat meal or hosting our lactose-intolerant friends.
Farmers’ markets are scarce this time of year, but I still try to source seasonal produce. During these cold months, we are blessed with various root vegetables and Brussels sprouts.
Despite the often bad reputation as a bitter and strong vegetable, these green gems turn out sweet and delicious when cooked properly. Often, I drizzle them with a little olive oil and maple syrup, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes. They are as sweet and delicious as candy.
This past Shabbat, however, I was on a soup mission: a pareve, lactose-free, creamy soup. My go-to milk substitute is almond milk. It has a nutty backdrop that adds additional layers of flavor. And, when you make your own, you can adjust the water-to-almond ratio to make it thicker and creamer. Of course, if you are short on time, you can find pre-made almond milk (as well as several other dairy-free milks) in most grocery stores.
By the way, I paired this “Cream” of Brussels Sprout Soup with Roasted Chicken with Mango Salsa, and everyone at our table—the lactose-free and gluten-free, alike—was happy and full.