by Francesca Patterson
In my house, I am always looking for ways to hide more nutritional value in our favorite foods. Sadly, this does not always work out as well as I hope it will. Sometimes the healthier option is simply not the delicious one. However, this cauliflower substitute for the classic spring comfort food, potato leek soup, seriously gave potatoes a run for their money.
With a couple of leeks from this week’s CSA, a large head of cauliflower, and just a few more simple ingredients I was able to drum up this creamy and savory stew that could fool anyone. You may think the best part of the cauliflower is the lack of calories or carbs, however I think the best part is what the cauliflower does have. Cauliflower is abundant with essential nutrients like fiber and choline, which helps balance a healthy metabolism and supports optimal brain functions.
To give this soup another element of texture and flavor, crispy shiitake mushrooms make an excellent topping. These crunchy mushrooms could disguise as bacon and get away with it. From the look to the taste, they are just as satisfying as the real thing. With vegan-friendly and diet-friendly ingredient list, this soup is bound to please just about anyone.
- ½ pound of shiitake mushrooms (stems removed, thinly sliced)
- 1 large cauliflower (chopped into florets)
- 2 leeks (only white parts, thinly sliced)
- 4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 3 cloves of garlic (crushed or diced)
- 1 tsp of thyme
- olive oil
- sea salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- paprika (optional)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Preheat oven to 375. Toss thin slices of shiitake mushrooms with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, two pinches of salt, and a pinch of paprika (optional). Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and place in preheated oven to bake for 20 minutes, flipping occasionally. Drain on paper towels and set aside to cool.
- In a large pot, saute the onions and leeks with olive oil until they become golden. Add garlic and cauliflower, until cauliflower begins to brown.
- Add vegetable/chicken broth as well as thyme. Bring to boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes or until cauliflower becomes tender
- Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend the soup until smooth in small batches, careful to avoid burns.
- Top with crispy shiitake mushrooms and enjoy!