Cream-Free Soups

Four fresh variations on the classic French potage

In many homes in France, particularly in the countryside, the evening meal starts with a potage, a blended soup made with lightly seasoned vegetables. So named because the ingredients come from the vegetable garden, or potager, these simple soups get their rich, velvety texture from puréed veggies rather than cream. What's more, a potage comes together quickly, fills you up without fat and a lot of calories, and tastes even better reheated the next day. (Take-along lunch, anyone?) The following recipes offer an easy introduction to the French favorite and show you how a few flavorful seasonings, such as sherry, curry powder, and miso paste, can turn a simple vegetable soup into something spectacular.