I am always looking for easy, delicious ways to help my kids eat their veggies, and one of the best tricks I’ve learned is to disguise new or unfamiliar dishes as family favorites. This week I want to share a healthy soup recipe that falls into the “stealthy vegetable” category. It’s always a hit at my house!
This one’s a hearty winter warmer that subs cauliflower for potatoes, and is rich and creamy without the cream (great side benefit).
It is officially called Creamy Cauliflower Soup, but we like to think of it as Tastes-Like-Potato Soup, named by my 6- and 8-year-olds. They love the flavor, and I love the way I feel afterward.
The recipe comes from Tess Masters’ (who you should definitely check out) new cookbook, The Blender Girl, and it gives you all the nutritional benefits of cauliflower. It’s perfect as a side dish with roasted chicken or another make-ahead entree. I also like to serve it with my favorite kale salad for a light but satiating dinner.
I hope you’ll give it a try on a chilly evening and then let me know what you think!
Creamy Cauliflower Soup (Vegan)
(Courtesy of Tess Masters)
Recipe serves 6 as a starter or 4 as a main dish.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 2 cloves), plus more to taste
- 2 cups chopped leeks (white parts only, from 2 or 3 leeks)
- Natural salt
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped
- 7 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup raw unsalted cashews or 1/4 cup blanched slivered raw almonds, soaked
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives or a grating of nutmeg (optional; choose one, not both), to garnish
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic, leeks and ¼ teaspoon of salt for about 3 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add the cauliflower and sauté for another minute.
- Add the vegetable broth, increase the heat to high, and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes until the cauliflower is completely tender. Stir the mix periodically, and mash the cauliflower with a wooden spoon.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly; stir in the nuts. Pour the soup into your blender in batches and puree on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy. (Remember to remove the plastic cap in the blender top and cover the opening with a kitchen towel so steam can escape while you blend.)
- Return the soup to the saucepan and warm it over low heat. Stir in salt to taste. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with either chopped chives or grated nutmeg.
Soup to Suit Your Tastes
I’ve made this recipe so many times, and sometimes when I have the cauliflower I don't have the other ingredients, so I need to vary the ingredients. I've substituted green or red onions for the leeks, and the soup turned out great each time. I have also substituted chicken broth because I always have it around. (Of course, stick to vegetable broth if you prefer to eat vegan.)
Our family enjoys garlic; therefore I double the amount of garlic to four large cloves. The soup doesn’t taste garlicky, but just becomes more flavorful. We also like spice, so I garnish it with cayenne pepper for a little extra kick and chopped cashews for some crunch, which the kids love. Delish! Let me know about your variations; I'd love to hear from you.
(Soup photo source: Detoxinista)