Getting the rich, mellow texture of a cream soup without the cream is a challenge. There are many substitutes for cream to achieve the same texture; the key is to find one that complements the flavors of the other ingredients.
For savory soups based on slightly bitter vegetables such as kale and swiss chard, shiitake mushrooms, olive oil, and miso add texture and rich flavor, while the right preparation adds the smooth texture. This soup is also delicious as the base for a side dish. Simply drain the fluid and serve the veggies and mushrooms sauteed.
Cream of Kale Soup
Half a bunch kale, washed and stripped from woody stems
Half a package frozen shiitake mushrooms, or 5 fresh mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
One third of a large red onion, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
One 8oz bottle miso ginger dressing or marinade
In a large saucepan over medium heat, sautee the onions in the olive oil until glassy. Add mushrooms and sautee until tender. Add in kale until wilted; depending on the size of your pan, you may need to first add half, allow to wilt, then add the rest. Stir on medium heat until kale has deepened in color to emerald green and has a soft, wilted texture. Pour in three-quarters of the bottle of miso ginger sauce, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool to warm, and puree on high in blender. Return to saucepan and heat to serving temperature.