"Dream" of Broccoli Soup

Although this soup is tummy-warming in fall and winter, it can also be served chilled in the summer with a dollop of yogurt and garnished with a few sprigs of cilantro or Italian parsley.

1 head broccoli or broccoflower, or about 4 cups frozen broccoli florets
1 cup fresh or frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 small red onion, chopped
6 cups low-sodium, low-fat chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese or ricotta
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (or basil, if not available)
Sea salt and cracked black peppercorns to taste

Coarsely chop the fresh broccoli or broccoflower. Put the chopped broccoli or frozen florets, edamame, onion, and chicken stock in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Pour the contents of the saucepan into a blender or a food processor and purée until smooth. Add the cheese and mint; blend ingredients, then pour soup back into the saucepan. Check for taste and add salt and pepper. Reheat slightly if necessary before serving.

Add 1 cup chopped Canadian bacon, deli ham, or prosciutto to the soup and simmer for a few minutes before serving.

Add 1 cup shredded grilled chicken and 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce, and return to a simmer for a few minutes before serving.

Use 1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, a more bitter form of broccoli, or 1 bunch kale or collard greens in place of half the broccoli.

Makes servings.
Per serving: calories, g total fat (g saturated), mg cholesterol, g dietary fiber, g carbohydrate, g protein, mg sodium.