Cauliflower Leek Soup

cauliflower leek soup

Because of my ongoing quest for soup recipes, and because of my newly acquired blender I have been searching for more puréed soup recipes. The ingredients are really simple, so in my opinion the success of this recipe depends largely on using a quality broth. I used my homemade chicken stock, but you could use a flavourful vegetable one to make it a vegan recipe. I make up a big batch of stock, then freeze it in portions to use in future soup recipes. A bit of work to do ahead of time, but it’s really handy and makes better soups.

I found this recipe on freshtart.com, and I made two changes: I cut the amount of oil in half (1 tablespoon per portion is too much for me), and I didn’t serve it with the fried shrimp on top, although this sounds yummy.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 heaping cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (homemade is always best)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 generous handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chives, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the leek to it and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower and garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the bay leaf.
  4. Place the spinach and chives in the blender, then add the cauliflower and broth and purée until smooth. If the liquid is hot it will make a bit of an explosion, se be careful. You could purée on very low to start, then allow some steam to escape, and then continue until it is smooth.
  5. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Drizzle with a little olive oil to serve, and add some minced chives for garnish if you like.

Green Gazpacho

green gazpacho - trust in kim

This soup is awesome! I was a little hesitant at first, as I’m not a big fan of green bell peppers, but since I have loved red gazpacho so much I thought I should at least give this a try.  After all, Yotam Ottolenghi wrote in his lovely cookbook Plenty that this is by far his favourite cold soup, so it must be good.  It is now one of my top favourites too.  It has so much flavour, and it’s got lots of healthy ingredients.  I made one big change, though – the recipe serving six people called for one whole cup! of olive oil! I cut that down to 1/4 cup.  Still takes great, and I feel better knowing I’m not eating almost 3 tablespoons of oil per serving.

While there is no cooking, there’s a bit of chopping, and then blending, so it’s not as quick as I thought it would be.  But it is totally worth a little extra chopping.

What you need:

  • 2 celery stalks (including leaves)
  • 2 small green bell peppers
  • 6 mini cucumbers (1 & 1/4 lbs), peeled
  • 3 slices stale white bread with crusts removed
  • 1 fresh green chile (I used a jalapeno)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt (I just used my plain yogurt)
  • about 2 cups cold water
  • 9 oz ice cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • white pepper (I just used black)

What you do:

  1.  Lightly toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan or in the oven. Let them cool.
  2. Roughly chop the celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, bread, chile and garlic and place it in a blender. If you are using an immersion blender, as I did, just put the ingredients into a large bowl.  If you have the option to use a blender I recommend that, as it would be a bit easier to get the right consistency for all the vegetables.  Add the sugar, walnuts, spinach, basil, parsley, vinegar, oil, yogurt, most of the water, half of the ice cubes, salt, and some pepper.  Puree until smooth.  Add more water if you need, in order to get the right consistency.  Taste and adjust seasonings if you need to.
  3. Add the remaining ice and blend for just a second or two to break it up a little.
  4. Serve with homemade croutons or a few walnuts sprinkled on top.

This makes 6 very generous portions.  I cut the recipe in half, which would be a great option for a starter-sized portion.