I saw the original recipe for this soup on America’s Test Kitchen, tried it, and it was fabulous. Rich, nutty, creamy and fresh all at the same time. Except for the entire stick of butter required – yes, an entire stick of butter for six bowls of soup – it was a perfect recipe.
So I played in the kitchen and it turns out this soup can be incredibly delicious with just a fraction of that butter and a little olive oil.
Now, this is NOT one of those “light” recipes that make you long for the real thing. I hate those. This is every bit as tasty as the original, just not artery-clogging. This picture shows baby spinach added to the soup. It looked great, and its completely optional.
Here’s how to make it:
Cauliflower Soup (makes 6 bowls)
1 head cauliflower (about 2 lbs.), pre-chopped from the store is fine too
1 leek, white and light green parts sliced (I have also used frozen and it came out fine)
1 small yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. olive oil
4-5 cups of water
1-2 tsp of salt
pepper to taste
1/2 a bag of baby spinach, optional
If you are noticing that this recipe is quite easy on the budget, you are right. Cauliflower was $1.69 a pound for organic at my supermarket, which makes this soup come in at less than $5.00 for the entire pot. Nice.
- Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan (or small stockpot) and saute the leeks and onion with 1 tsp of salt until soft – medium to medium high heat.
- While this is cooking remove the leaves from the cauliflower, and cut into 1/2” slices. The inside of the stem is good, just cut off the outside part and then chop the inside of the stem roughly.
- Once the leeks and onions are soft, add 4 cups of water, the cauliflower stem pieces, and half of the rest of the cauliflower. Bring it all up to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Then add the rest of the cauliflower, and simmer for an additional 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is falling apart. Blend the soup with either an immersion blender or in your blender, until very smooth.
- Add it back to the pot, and add any additional water to make a soup that will be thick but still soupy. This is usually 1/2 to 1 cup. If you want to add the spinach, slice it into spoon-friendly pieces and add it here. Simmer the soup, it will wilt in a few minutes. Salt and pepper the soup to taste.
It sounds so simple, but you will be amazed at how full-flavored this soup is. I wish I could say it held up well as leftovers, but we’ve never had any leftovers. This makes a great lunch or light dinner with a salad and a piece of crusty bread. It is also a great addition to a supermarket roast chicken meal.
If you want to make this fancy for company, you can hold out about a cup of small cauliflower florets, add them to 3 Tbs. of butter in a saute pan, and brown them along with the butter over medium heat. When done, use a slotted spoon to remove the cauliflower, put in a bowl and drizzle with about a teaspoon of sherry vinegar (or white wine vinegar); put the browned butter in a separate bowl. When serving, add a few florets and a drizzle of browned butter to the top of each bowl of soup. Decadent and delicious.