Smooth and creamy soups are so pleasing to the pallet with there smooth texture and buttery taste. However these types of soups are often times high in fat and cholesterol. There are easy ways to still be able to enjoy hearty thick soups with less fat and less cholesterol.
Here are four alternatives to heavy cream, butter or coconut milk when thickening soup.
Substitute plain yogurt for the cream, butter or coconut milk. Simply make the soup as normal holding back the fat. At the end of cooking add enough plain yogurt to make the soup creamy and smooth. Plain yogurt has a tangy taste and may alter the flavor of the soup. To combat this add a spoonful of honey or sugar with the plain yogurt. But keep in mind yogurt will curdle if boiled. Never boil soup with yogurt.
Whisk in sour cream. Sour cream is not exactly low in fat or low in cholesterol but it does have the smooth creamy taste and texture many soups require. The trick to using sour cream is to only use 2-3 tablespoons and to whisk it in just before serving. By whisking in the sour cream at the end of cooking the smooth creamy taste will still be full bodied when the soup is served. But just like yogurt sour cream will separate if boiled, never boil soup with sour cream.
Use less fat. Often a recipe will call for ½ cup to 1 cup of heavy cream. This amount is often times not necessary to achieve the same smooth creamy flavor and texture. Simply lower the amount of heavy cream to 2 tablespoons and the soup will still maintain the desired finish.
Use vegetable puree. A simple puree of potatoes or other root vegetables will accomplish the desired thickening of the soup. Simply omit the cream, butter or coconut milk and substitute a cup of thick vegetable puree.