This post was last updated on February 20, 2021 by India
A Creamy and decadent chicken and wild rice soup made dairy free! This soup is decadent, nutritious, and the perfect thing to make on a cold snowy day!
About this Cozy Dairy Free Chicken and wild Rice Soup
I love a good soup, especially when temps turn frigid outside. This soup has been on our typical rotation for months as I’ve worked through perfecting the recipe. It’s cozy, decadent, and so addicting I think it may be my favorite soup to date!
When creating this recipe, I wanted a soup that tasted decadent but was healthy, and creamy but dairy free. After months of testing different milk alternatives, trying to thicken the soup with cornstarch, cauliflower, or potatoes, and mixing different herbs, I finally landed on a winning combination. Bonus: It’s relatively easy to make and comes together in less than an hour!
This Dairy Free Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is the most perfect Sunday dinner.
How do you make Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup without any dairy?
The secret to making this creamy soup without any dairy is cauliflower and cashews!
Cauliflower boiled in seasoned chicken stock and cashews soaked in boiled water makes the most decadent cream sauce when blended together. I actually prefer this dairy free version of this soup instead of using regular dairy.
Ingredients in Dairy Free Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Here’s what you’ll need to make this soup:
- Chicken. I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but use whatever you have on hand! Just be sure to adjust cooking time and all chicken reaches 165 degrees before serving. If using chicken with bones and skin, make sure to remove the skin and bones after the chicken is cooked through when you shred the chicken.
- Chicken stock. Or substitute vegetable stock to make this recipe vegan.
- Wild rice blend. I use Lundberg’s Wild Rice. It’s my favorite! I love the nutty flavor and textural interest it gives to recipes.
- Vegetables. I use a classic mirepoix blend of celery, carrots, and yellow onion. I love using this flavorful trio in soups.
- Cashews. The secret ingredient in the dairy free cream sauce. When blended, cashews make such an amazing dairy free creamer!
- Frozen cauliflower. To help thicken the dairy free cream sauce.
- Extra virgin olive oil. To lightly saute the vegetables and spices.
- Spices. In addition to salt and pepper, we’re also using dried thyme, sage, and whole bay leaves.
- Garlic. Six whole cloves go into this recipe!
- Lemon. Fresh lemon juice adds a little bit of brightness without tasting too lemony.
- Green onions. Optional, for serving.
How to Make this Soup
1. Soak the cashews. In a heatproof bowl, soak the cashews in freshly boiled water. This step is so important to ensure the cashews blend into a creamy cream sauce!
2. Cook the vegetables. Saute the vegetables, herbs, spices, and garlic in olive oil until vegetables are soft.
3. Add the rice. Toss the rice in the olive oil and vegetables.
4. Add the stock and chicken. And the bay leaves, too! Bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a low boil and cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked and rice is tender.
5. Cook the cauliflower. Transfer some stock to a small saucepan and cook the cauliflower until super tender. You’re going to blend it, so don’t worry about overcooking it.
6. Shred the chicken. Remove the cooked chicken and shred using two forks.
7. Make the cream sauce. Blend the cooked cauliflower and cashews together to make the ultra creamy dairy free cream sauce.
8. Add the sauce, chicken, and lemon. Add the chicken, cream sauce, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Top with some green onions if desired, and serve!
Possible Recipe Variations and Substitutions
There are a few ways you can mix up this recipe to accommodate your dietary restrictions. Read below for suggestions on how to make this Dairy Free Chick and Wild Rice Soup nut free, with Thanksgiving leftovers, or vegan!
Make this nut free
Skip the cashews and instead blend the cauliflower with 1 cup oat milk. Thicken the soup with a cornstarch slurry using 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water.
use Thanksgiving Leftovers
This soup is the perfect way to give new life to Thanksgiving leftovers! Instead of chicken stock and chicken breast, use turkey stock and leftover turkey meat! Stir in the cooked turkey meat after you transfer the stock to the small saucepan to cook the cauliflower.
make this vegan
Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and substitute either cannellini beans or jackfruit for the chicken. If using the jackfruit, lightly fry the jackfruit in a neutral oil before adding to the soup.
Equipment you’ll need for Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
You don’t need much specialty equipment to make this recipe, but you will need a large soup pot and a blender or food processor.
Be careful blending hot liquids in a blender so you don’t burn yourself. Only fill the blender halfway, working in batches if needed. I haven’t tried to use a food processor for the cream sauce, but there shouldn’t be any issues. You may just need to scrape down the sides and process for a bit longer!
Is this soup gluten free?
Yes! Unlike most cream based soups thickened with a roux made of flour and butter, this soup is thickened with a sauce made of pureed cauliflower and cashew cream making it both dairy and gluten free!
What does this soup taste like?
In two words…cozy heaven! It reminds me of the chicken and wild rice soup at Panera Bread, but better. It’s very rich, yet balanced with the fresh lemon juice without tasting lemony. The herbs give the soup a warm, herby, almost peppery taste. I love the nutty flavor of the wild rice blend and the textural interest it gives as well.
I love this soup and everyone who has tried it has been equally obsessed! While testing this recipe, no one has noted a cashew or cauliflower taste from the dairy free cream sauce.
Can I freeze Chicken and Wild Rice Soup?
Yes! This soup can be frozen for up 3 – 4 months. It may separate or thicken when reheating, so just add a splash of chicken stock or water to thin it out.
What to serve with Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
This is truly a complete all-in-one meal with lean protein, fibrous vegetables, complex carbs, and healthy fats. However, if you want to have a few sides to make it more complete, I love to serve this soup with fresh homemade cornbread or an easy leafy green salad.
Like this recipe? Check out these soup recipes to keep you warm and cozy:
If you liked this Dairy Free Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, check out these other soup recipes:
- Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings (like Cracker Barrel!)
- Easy Hot and Sour Soup
- Tuscan White Bean Soup with Kale
- Honey Habanero Chili
DID YOU MAKE THIS Dairy Free Chicken and Wild Rice SOUP RECIPE?
If you’ve tried this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, please rate this recipe and let me know how you liked it in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also like me on facebook and follow me on Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious meals I’m cooking! You can also mention @indiafromindiana or tag #indiafromindiana on Instagram so I can see what you’re making in the kitchen.
Dairy Free Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- 1.5 pounds chicken breasts
- 1.5 cups wild rice blend
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large carrots chopped
- 5 celery stalks chopped
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 6 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/8 tsp dried sage
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 16 oz frozen cauliflower
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 lemon juice juice from 1 lemon
- green onions optional, for serving
Bring water to a boil. In a heatproof bowl, soak cashews in freshly boiled water. Set aside until later.
Make the Soup
Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Saute the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and sage until vegetables are soft.
Add the rice and toss in the vegetables and oil
Add the chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, add chicken. Reduce soup to a low boil and cook covered for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through.
Make the Cream Sauce and Shred the Chicken
Once rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, reduce the soup to keep warm. Transfer two cups of the hot stock to a small sauce pan over high heat. Add the frozen caulfilower and cook covered for 7 minutes or until cauliflower is fall apart tender. Transfer cauliflower and stock to a blender. Drain the cashews and add them to the blender. Blend on high until a thick and luxurious creamy sauce develops, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the cream sauce to the soup and stir to incorporate.
Note: Only fill the blender half way full with hot liquids and be careful when opening the lid so it doesn't splatter and burn. Work in batches if needed, reserving half the stock to blend with the cashews.
While the cauliflower is cooking, remove and discard the bay leaves. Remove the chicken to a large bowl and shred with two forks into bite sized pieces. Return the chicken to the soup.
Add the lemon juice and stir into the soup. Top with sliced green onions if desired and serve.
- This recipe makes 6 - 8 servings. Nutritional information is an estimate only and calculated based on 8 servings.
- Only fill the blender half way full with hot liquids and be careful when opening the lid so it doesn't splatter and burn. Work in batches if needed, reserving half the stock to blend with the cashews.
- I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this recipe. Use whatever you prefer. If using chicken with bones and skin, remove the skin and bones when shredding the chicken. You can also use pre cooked rotisserie chicken. Add the cooked chicken to the soup after you transfer the stock to cook the cauliflower.
STORE IT IN THE FRIDGE
Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The rice will absorb the liquid causing the soup to thicken. Add a splash of broth or water when reheating to thin to desired consistency.
MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE
Recipe is gluten free as written.
MAKE IT Dairy Free
Recipe is dairy free as written.
HELPFUL RECIPE INFORMATION
All recipes are tested and developed in my home kitchen. Unless otherwise stated, I always use extra virgin olive oil and Himalayan pink salt in my recipes