In the world of creamy soups, the word "vegan" doesn't get tossed around very often. Even though I am not a vegan myself, I appreciate alternatives that don't taste like water. The first time I fell in love with a truly great creamy soup was when I was a teenager. There was this little restaurant, named Genesis. The ever classic family-style diner with over-sized, squeaky vinyl booths, that screeched with every movement. Their humble yet expansive menu suited anyone that sat down that day.
It was the type of restaurant that was deceptively large, but made you feel like you were sitting at your kitchen table. The subtle informal ambiance was just apart of the appeal. The food was what you want when you go out for something that just makes you feel good. Salads, burgers, tacky, gelatinous meatloaf...endless options for every palette. My drug of choice was the creamy chicken and wild rice soup. Only served on Sundays. You had to get to the restaurant early, or call in your order because the soup was a widely known secret.
Silky, fattening, perfectly cooked rice, and a swirl of tender chicken breast. This soup was my gateway into unapologetic, addicting soups. Once I was diagnosed with my food allergy, all my past romance with the family corner establishment went down in flames. But was resurrected by my saint of a father. He worked tirelessly at attempting to mimic the intense, yet simple dish. A little pepper here, a little extra rice there. It was and still remains my absolute favorite dish of his, and whenever I can, I request it. He actually used to make large batches for me when I was in college, as sweet as he can be. I suspect is more so to make sure Jake and I were receiving proper nutrition other than gorging ourselves on boxed mac n cheese, but either way, I knew that he did it because he truly loves making that soup.
Being so far away from home the last couple of years, I got it in my head that I could create something close that was both delicious, and vegan. This take is more on his creamy potato soup, which is my other favorite, and something I have been craving for a long time.
After numerous rounds of recipe testing, so came forth my absolute go to soup recipe! This soup is sneaky, in that it is creamy without dairy, thick without much potato, and incredibly satisfying with an extremely low calorie count. Not to mention, it is the perfect appetizer or main dish, depending on how much you want to eat.
You may just be coming back for seconds, once you taste this magic.
The soup works for a lot of reasons, but the top two are the tapioca flour slurry mixed into the coconut milk (extremely important), and the cauliflower. If you have ever made mashed/whipped cauliflower, the same thought process was put into this soup. The leek, onion and garlic give the soup its unexpected but necessary understated heat. If you are wondering why I am not blathering about the actual steps, I put extremely detailed directions below on the recipe card and snapshot at the end since this is a more involved recipe.
I do have a note on the leek, only use the white/light green portion for the soup, and save the rest for broth. The green tops do not have as much flavor. Also, cooking leeks are one of the most incredible smells on the planet earth in my opinion.
This is soup is everything you want in a fall meal. It is inviting, warm, and just what you need to enjoy your hibernation cravings and not feel guilty. It reminds me of home as a teenager, happily slurping away and causing havoc in those rubbery booths.
Disclaimer: If you decide to use a counter top blender, be sure to remove the little cap from the top and cover it with a towel so the heat is able to escape!
Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup
A healthy alternative to a traditional cream of potato soup. Cauliflower and coconut provide the soup with its creamy base, while the leek and onion give the dish its slight heat. A completely vegan and gluten-free friendly recipe, the rich and silky taste is sure to impress everyone!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 8-9 cups
Calories per serving: 125
- 1 cup peeled, diced potato (about 1 large)*
- 1/4 cup peeled, diced carrots (I used 2 thinner carrots)
- 1 1/2 cups sweet onion (1 large sweet onion)
- 1 cup cleaned, diced leek (mostly white/pale green portions)
- 3 cups chopped cauliflower (1 regular head yielded 3 cups for me)
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic minced (Around 3 cloves, jarred will work as well)
- 4 cups (1 32 oz container) Vegetable broth
- 1 13.5 oz can of light coconut milk**
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or oil of choice)
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1/4 cup water
- Around 2 teaspoons salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Step 1: Take a large stock pot, or large cast iron Dutch oven (stove top safe), set on medium heat, and melt 1 tablespoon of your oil of choice. Season your leek and onion with a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss in the pot. Sweat the onion and leek for about 5 minutes until the onion is almost translucent.
- Step 2. Season the rest of the veggies with another pinch of salt and pepper (layer flavors people!), add to pot. Cook the added veggies, combining well with the leek and onion. Cook for about 4 minutes.
- Step 3. Add the vegetable broth and make sure that all veggies are covered. If they are not, add water until just covered (a few of the cauliflower may poke up a little that is okay). The vegetables will cook down as the broth reduces.
- Step 4: Crank up the heat so the soup comes to a boil, and then turn down the heat so it is an angry simmer, but not yet a boil, should be around medium heat. Cook until you can pierce the potatoes and cauliflower easily. It took me around 23 minutes or so.
- Step 5: Pull the pot off the heat to cool slightly while you prepare the coconut milk/tapioca slurry.
- Step 6: Mix tapioca flour and water in a small bowl until combined, add this and the coconut milk into a saucepan on medium/low heat stirring often (to make sure the bottom doesn’t start to burn or stick). As you stir, you should see the mixture begin to thicken. It took about 6 minutes to get to the consistency I wanted, you are looking for like almost a nacho cheese consistency.
- Step 7: Once the slurry is done, or while you are waiting for it to thicken, use a stick immersion blender to blend the base soup into a creamy sauce. You can also use a blender but you may have to work in batches, PLEASE BE CAREFUL IF IT IS STILL HOT!
- Step 8: Fold in the coconut milk/slurry mixture into the blended soup, place the soup pot back on the burner (on low), and whisk the coconut milk mixture until combined (the soup will be a pretty color now). Cook for a few minutes longer, add the salt (I did around 1 ½ teaspoons for the full pot, but feel free to add more), toss pepper in to taste and let reduce another 10-15 minutes on a simmer. The taste will deepen and the soup will thicken up even more.