Tasty Leek and Cauliflower Soup and a High Protein salad
When the weather is varying between freezing cold and brief periods of warmth and sunshine, it can often be hard to choose between the warming soups of winter and the longing for raw salads that bring the taste, crunch and colours of spring. There is nothing I like better than to combine the two, to eat a soup and a salad at the same time (or one after the other). Here are a couple of recipes you might enjoy at this time of year. The soup is the kind you can put in a mug and sip as you crunch your way through the crisp refreshing salad with its multiple textures, sweet vegetable juices, the creamy taste of hummus and the bitter-salt tang and yielding texture of olives.
To begin with, start the stoup. I came up with this recipe today as I was given two cauliflowers that needed to be cooked ASAP. Being the economical vegan that I am, I immediately thought of soup. And having a surfeit of leeks from my veg boxes (again!), knowing the creamy texture that lots of leek adds to a soup, I decided to make a simple soup with plenty of flavour and a delicious smooth feel in the mouth.
Wash three good-sized leeks by chopping off the green heads just below the beginning of the white stalk, splitting the heads lengthwise, and soaking in some warm water for ten minutes. Then wash well, separating the leaves. Put a deep soup pan on to boil and add a little vegetable oil. Chop the stalks of the leeks, and toss into the oil. Rinse and drain the green tops of the leeks, slice and add to the pan, leaving a few for the salad, stirring to sautee, extracting all the flavour that you can.
Meanwhile, fill the kettle and bring it to the boil.
Remove the leaves and the bottom of the stalk from the 2 cauliflowers, then roughly chop them(stalks and all, and add to the pan. Add 3 cloves of garlic, and a 3cm cube of ginger, both roughly chopped. Stir briskly for a few minutes as the vegetables fry, then add the boiling water to cover the vegetables. Add plenty of black pepper, and 2 vegetable stock cubes or the same amount of vegetable bouillon. Simmer for 20 minutes, then take off the heat. Add 2 tablespoons of savoury yeast flakes if you wish, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce. Blend with a hand blender, then taste. If the soup tastes a little bitter, add a dash more sweet chilli sauce and stir well.
The salad is very easy. Five leaves of little gem lettuce, washed and then torn up, half a yellow pepper, diced, a few shredded bits of leek. A tomato, chopped, and a chopped half of avocado. Blob on about four tablespoons of hummous, and sprinkle on some marinated olives and some sunflower seeds. Drizzle with some lemon juice and a basic vinaigrette dressing. And you are done!
The soup and the salad are packed with flavour, and are really nutritious. They combine various textures and every mouthful is slightly different. I hope you will try these recipes and will enjoy them.