One trick I learned in Italy while making vegetable minestrone or potato leek soup was how to thicken a soup without cream. My non-dairy option can also be added to mashed potatoes or pasta sauces to add extra protein and a rich delicious flavor.
My substitute “cream” consists of cannellini beans, puréed in a food processor until smooth. Simply stir bean paste, a tablespoon at a time, into your soup or sauce to add a rich, creamy texture. This is a wonderful alternative to heavy cream or even a flour based thickener.
Since you will have to open an whole can of beans, here’s a tip for the leftover beans. Place the remaining beans in a bowl and add one very finely minced garlic clove, a little salt, pepper, and 1-2 tablespoons of good quality olive oil to create a delicious spread for chewy bread or steamed vegetables. It resembles hummus but has a milder flavor and is much easier to make. The best part is you’ll love the taste while you’re replacing the butter and use up your leftover beans. Give it a try, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.