Roasted Cauliflower Leek Soup (paleo, with vegan option!)

I was really hoping by this point in the year that it would’ve been a little chillier. I’m ready to turn my A/C off…. But here we are.

For my non-US friends…. What’s it like to not stress-eat and go about your merry day, this week? We’ve been on edge waiting for the results of this election, and I will (hopefully) breathe a huge sigh of relief when this is done. Not that I don’t enjoy politics or anything – Political Science was actually one of my majors in college so I really enjoy a good debate. This year has taken the fun out of it though – less science and reason, more feelings. Having said that, I will be glad when the collective US people calms down a bit. Hopefully.

Even though there hasn’t been a whole lot of chilly fall weather, I’m ready for it. I’ve been making soups and crockpot recipes and baking…. Dare I say, I am even ready for some snow? I’m interested to see how my new Jeep fares in some powder, and I got some Carhartt wool socks that I’ll be sporting (it’s the little things, really). It’ll be a little different this year, since normally I’d love for it to snow and then get together with friends to cook and drink wine, but COVID has sort of hampered those plans. In the meantime, we all have to make due with whatever is thrown our way, and make sure we’re practicing self-care.

Out of curiosity, how much have you seen that term thrown around, “Self-Care”? It’s been adopted by a lot of trendy magazines, beauty lines, and has this spa-like association to it. To be honest, that really makes me mad. There’s nothing like ruining the meaning of something because it makes money – you’re selling someone an idea, something for them to reach for, and the wellness industry has done little to show people what it actually means – all the more reason for no one to really dig into the definition of self-care. From my own personal perspective, it even feels like it has this feminine tie to it too – doll yourself up, take a bubble bath, wear a fuzzy robe on Saturday night in –  all the more damaging, since self-care is for everyone.

What does self-care actually look like? Not to keep with the vague answers, but that really depends on you.

To me, self-care is reaching for water instead of wine after I’m done work, to make sure I stay hydrated.

Self-care is turning off the news for the day, because it gives me anxiety.

It’s making sure I shower before bed, because I like getting into a clean bed with clean pajamas, and clean hair.

It’s prioritizing my meetings, switching a less impactful one to tomorrow, because I need to get away from my desk and get some fresh air outside.

It’s being patient with myself when I short-circuit because I am stressed, or being kind to myself because I was in my feelings and gained some weight in quarantine.

It’s making healthy choices, and not overly depriving myself of things I enjoy as I’ve slowly shed my quarantine weight, and reminding myself that my friends still love me, no matter what I weigh.

It’s asserting my boundaries, telling people I’m uncomfortable with large gatherings, but respect that they can still do what they want.

And if doing these things inspires a big ol’ lumberjack man to put on his fluffy robe, sip Pinot Noir and take a bubble bath, then so be it.

Does this all sound mushy and weird to you? If so, it’s because we never understood that self-care is making sure we’re doing and feeling okay, respecting our own limits, and honoring our needs. To assign some sort of marketable idea that it’s to just shut off and shut down to primp and pamper, I think we’re doing ourselves a disservice. Learn what it is that you do for yourself when you feel your best, and then do more of it.

If it’s cold where you are, you’re going to love this soup recipe. It’s deceivingly creamy, and you may even fool some vegetable haters out there too. Get out those delicious leeks and let’s roast some stuff!

Roasted Cauliflower Leek Soup (Paleo and Keto, with Vegan option!)

prep time: 15 min

cook time: 25 min

serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 quart chicken stock (vegetable stock can be used to make vegan)
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, thicker stems removed
  • 1/2 to 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 leeks, sliced thin – using only the white or lighter parts
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika (plain, not smoked)
  • 2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • Salt + pepper (to taste; I used approx. 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper)

to garnish(optional)

  • Scallions, sliced
  • Crumbled bacon, prosciutto or pancetta

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add your ghee or olive oil, leeks and onion. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until onions and leeks become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Next, add your garlic and more ghee or olive oil if needed, and stir, cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower to the pot next, stirring so that it starts to soften and brown – about 3-4 minutes. Add just a pinch more salt and pepper. This allows the vegetables to “sweat” and incorporate each other’s flavors better.
  3. Now, add your chicken or vegetable stock, thyme and paprika, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the broth starts boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cover with a lid simmering for about 15-20 minutes – allowing the cauliflower to cook thoroughly.
  4. Once the cauliflower has simmered, add your lemon juice. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. If you don’t have one on hand, you can also carefully add the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. If using a blender, add back to your pot once blended.
  5. Taste the soup for additional seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, paprika or lemon as needed. You can also thin it out a bit with additional stock, if it’s too thick.
  6. Serve with garnish (optional), and enjoy!

-S

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