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There are many different types of dairy-free soups that are eaten around the world. Broth-based soups can easily be made without dairy as can soups composed primarily of vegetables. Soups that are made with meats, grains, and legumes are also common types of dairy-free soups. Dessert soups are frequently made with fruits and coconut or rice milk and are usually dairy-free. In most cases, it is also possible to modify soups that usually require butter, milk, or cream so that they are dairy-free.
Many types of hot soups are made with a water or broth base. The simplest types of soups are made by boiling meats, grains, or vegetables in water and then consuming these ingredients along with the water. More complicated soups are made by first creating a stock and then using that as a liquid base for the soup. As long as butter, milk or other dairy products are not added, these types of soups are considered to be dairy-free soups. Gumbo, lentil, and stone soup are all examples of these types of soups.
Rice or noodle soups are often dairy-free soups. They are usually made with broth, in which meats, vegetables, and rice or noodles are boiled. Pho, a popular Vietnamese soup, is an example of this type of soup. A common Italian soup, minestrone, is also made in this manner, as is the American staple, chicken noodle soup.
Some types of cold soups are also made without the use of dairy products. Soups made with cucumbers or beets are common in many parts of the world and can be made without dairy, though it is also common to mix sour cream or milk into these soups. Gazpacho, a tomato-vegetable soup, and salmorejo, a tomato-bread based soup, are almost always made as dairy-free soups.
It is also possible to find dairy-free soups that are meant to be eaten for dessert. Dessert soups often contain fruits, grains and nuts. The base for these types of dairy-free soups can be juice, water, or dairy-free milk, such as rice or coconut milk.
Most soup recipes that call for dairy can be turned into dairy-free soups by making a few substitutions. Oil or margarine can be used instead of butter. Milk and cream can be replaced with soy or rice milk, or even coconut milk, if a creamier texture is desired.