Bisque, Quick

Okay, they're not all quick, but they are easy, and we couldn't resist! “Bisque” used to strictly refer to a rich, shellfish-based soup, but now the term has expanded to cover almost any smooth, creamy soup. These veggie-based versions are elegant enough for your holiday table, and simple and satisfying enough for midweek meals, too.


Photos by Andy Lyons Prop Styling by Sue Mitchell Food Styling by Greg Luna

Roasted Cauliflower Bisque

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225 reviews
Submitted by: Jennie

Prep | 20 min Cook | 40 min Ready | 1 hr Serves | 6

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • Sliced green onions for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Put cauliflower in a small roasting pan, then drizzle with oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and nutmeg; toss to coat. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and tender, about 35 minutes.

3. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle with flour, stirring to coat. Gradually add broth and milk, then whisk until flour is completely dissolved. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in cauliflower and sherry.

4. Working in small batches, purée mixture in a blender until smooth. [From our kitchen: The original recipe recommended leaving soup chunky, but we preferred a smoother texture.] Return to pot and rewarm over low heat. Divide among bowls, then drizzle with additional oil and sprinkle with green onions. [From our kitchen: Soup can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered, or frozen up to 3 months.]

Per Scant 1-Cup Serving: 220 Cal; 15.9g Fat (5.4g Sat); 6g Pro; 15g Carb; 2.7g Fiber; 409mg Sodium; 18.3mg Chol

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Bisque

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Gluten-free
77 reviews
Submitted by: Skaught

Prep | 20 min Cook | 25 min Ready | 45 min Serves | 6

  • 4 red bell peppers (2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3⅓ cups low-sodium chicken broth [From our kitchen: For a vegetarian version of this bisque, substitute vegetable broth.]
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can no-salt-added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed [From our kitchen: Canned white beans give body and the illusion of cream to this nondairy soup.]
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

1. Preheat oven to broil.

2. Cut each pepper into 4 large, flat pieces and discard stems, seeds, and ribs. Put pepper pieces, skin sides up, on a broiler pan and broil 6 inches from heat until skin blackens, about 10 minutes. Transfer pepper pieces, skin sides down, to a plate and cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Once cool, peel and roughly chop.

3. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic, stirring, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in broth, beans, salt, and pepper.

4. Working in small batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth and return soup to pot. Warm through over low heat, 5 minutes. Divide among bowls, then sprinkle with parsley. [From our kitchen: Soup can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered, or frozen up to 3 months.]

Per 1-Cup Serving: 156 Cal; 5.5g Fat (0.7g Sat); 6g Pro; 21.3g Carb; 6.2g Fiber; 358mg Sodium; 0mg Chol

Roasted Beet and Potato Bisque

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38 reviews
Submitted by: Kprzy

Prep | 20 min Cook | 40 min Ready | 1 hr Serves | 6

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • ¾ pound baking potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (2 cups)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced (½ cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages precooked peeled beets, cut into ½-inch pieces (2½ cups) [From our kitchen: Store-bought precooked beets make this soup less time-consuming. Look for them in the produce section.]
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Sour cream and fresh dill for garnish

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook onion, potatoes, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.

2. Add broth, bay leaf, salt, thyme, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 20 minutes. Add beets and continue to simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes more. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

3. Working in small batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth and return to pot. Stir in milk and lemon juice and warm through over low heat, 5 minutes. [From our kitchen: Bisque can made 3 days ahead and chilled covered, or frozen up to 3 months. This could also work as a cold soup, substituting sour cream for the milk.]

Per Generous 1-Cup Serving: 201 Cal; 10.1g Fat (2.7g Sat); 5.9g Pro; 23.5g Carb; 2.8g Fiber; 432mg Sodium; 9.6mg Chol

Butternut Squash Bisque

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Vegetarian
606 reviews
Submitted by: Phonelady55

Prep | 25 min Cook | 30 min Ready | 55 min Serves | 4

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (1 pound)
  • ¾ cup diced carrots
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup heavy cream (optional), plus additional for drizzling

1. Heat oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion, stirring, until tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in squash, carrots, broth, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Working in small batches, purée mixture in a blender until smooth. Return to pot and stir in cream (if using). Warm through over low heat (do not boil). Divide among bowls, then garnish with cracked pepper and a drizzle of cream. [From our kitchen: Soup can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered, or frozen up to 3 months.]

Per 1½-Cup Serving: 230 Cal; 17.3g Fat (9.1g Sat); 2.3 PRO; 18.5g Carb; 3.7g Fiber; 589mg Sodium; 42mg Chol

Cream of Broccoli Bisque

armagazine.com/cream-of-broccoli-bisque
57 reviews
Submitted by: Janiebear925

Prep | 20 min Cook | 15 min Ready | 35 min Serves | 6

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced (½ cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth [From our kitchen: For a vegetarian version, swap in vegetable broth for the chicken broth; for a vegan version, use unsweetened rice milk or almond milk in place of cow's milk, below.]
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli (10 ounces)
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Croutons and shredded cheddar cheese for garnish

1. Bring onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and broth to a boil in a large pot. Add broccoli and boil, covered, until tender, 10 minutes.

2. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return to pot and add milk, salt, and pepper. Warm through over low heat. Divide among bowls, then sprinkle with croutons and cheese. [From our kitchen: Soup can be made up to 3 days ahead and chilled, covered.]

Per 1-Cup Serving: 111 Cal; 4.5g Fat (2.5g Sat); 6.6g Pro; 12.2g Carb; 2.1g Fiber; 428mg Sodium; 12.8mg Chol

Chef John's Creamy Mushroom Bisque

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84 reviews
Submitted by: Chef John

Prep | 25 min Cook | 1 hr, 30 min Ready | 1 hr, 55 min Serves | 6

  • ½ stick butter
  • 2 pounds sliced fresh mushrooms
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1½ tablespoons flour
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh thyme leaves for garnish

1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook mushrooms with ¼ teaspoon salt, stirring, until mushrooms give off their juices, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until juices evaporate and mushrooms are golden brown, about 15 minutes. [From Chef John: The secret to this deep, rich soup is a long, slow caramelization, so don't rush the process!] Set aside a few attractive mushroom slices for garnish. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Tie thyme sprigs into a small bundle with kitchen string and add to mushroom mixture along with garlic, broth, and water. Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and cook 1 hour.

2. Remove thyme bundle. Working in small batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return soup to pot and stir in cream. Warm through over low heat. [Note from Chef John: If mixture seems too thick, thin it with more chicken broth or water.] Add remaining ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and garnish with reserved mushroom slices and thyme leaves.

Per Generous 1-Cup Serving: 263 Cal; 22.7g Fat (14.2g Sat); 7.8g Pro; 11.1g Carb; 2.1g Fiber; 419mg Sodium; 66mg Chol

To see this recipe in motion, go to armagazine.com/chef-johns-creamy-mushroom-bisque-video