I’d almost bought into the idea that winter was over, though I should know better. I’d traded my warm winter parka for a lighter coat and tucked away my boots in favor of cuter shoes. But I live in Maine, where winter comes in swiftly and leaves reluctantly long after we want it to. It’s the last party guest who just won’t leave because they have one more thing they have to tell you before they go.
It was mildly annoying last week when I had to turn the heat back on. But I was more annoyed when those cute shoes left my toes so cold that it was uncomfortable — but not quite uncomfortable enough to convince me to stop wearing them. Today, though, with another blizzard dropping more snow, I’ve conceded and bundled up in boots, gloves and my trusty parka.
And my belly is covered too, or at least ready to be pleasantly filled, with this hearty but healthy soup. Cauliflower Leek Soup is loosely based on potato leek soup, although it’s a little more textured than that classic. Regardless, this is a sensual soup with notes of natural sweetness from the leeks, onion and cauliflower. The thyme, salt and pepper and hot sauce balance it, providing contrasting flavors.
The ingredients are simple — leeks, onion, cauliflower, thyme, salt, pepper. You get the idea. The leeks and onion are sweated in a mixture of butter and olive oil, giving them a rich, lusciousness.
Then the cauliflower is added and seasoned.
Stock is added and then it all cooks together until the cauliflower is tender. Then it’s pureed. I got a textured soup with my stick blender, but for a smoother soup use a regular ol’ blender instead.
Cauliflower Leek Soup
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 leeks , white and light green parts chopped (see note above)
- 1 small yellow onion , diced
- salt and peper
- 1 head cauliflower , chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- hot sauce , to taste
- microgreens or chopped baby spinach , as desired
- In a large stockpot, combine the butter and olive oil. Set on a burner at medium heat. When the butter is melted, stir in the leeks (see note about soaking above) and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.
- Add the cauliflower and stir to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, but do be judicious with it -- you can always season the soup more later but over-seasoning isn't so easily undone. Add the thyme and stir to combine.
- Pour the vegetable stock into the pot. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork tender. Remove from the heat and puree using a stick blender (you can use a regular blender too but be careful -- splattering hot soup can cause burns).
- Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired. Stir in a few drops of hot sauce, adjusting to your taste.
- Garnish with microgreens or chopped baby spinach, as desired.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.