This soup is so velvety smooth and comforting. You will not be able to get enough. Plus it’s full of fibre, thus will keep you full even if you’re not dunking bread in it. The beans don’t need to be soaked before you start, which gives them a deeper flavour that goes so well with the cauliflower and sweet leek. Then there’s the garnish, you can make it with or without bacon and either way it’s crispy goodness is a textural treat. There’s also the other extra garnish of parmesan and lemon zest that ties everything together and makes this creamy, comforting winter soup taste fresh. It’s a winning combo.
I love the hint of lemon in this soup. It balances the creaminess and brings the leek, cauliflower and bean together. But my favourite part is the fact that you can use dried beans (which I prefer to canned) and not need to soak them. Soaking is a pain. I’m not big on planning so remembering to do this the night before is a big call for me and something that only hummus makes worthwhile. I’ve recently discovered that for lots of beans it’s also kind of unnecessary. By bringing them to the boil and then letting them soak in hot water you bypass the need for an overnight soak and get to retain far more of their ‘beany’ flavour. Which is ideal when they’re one of the co-stars of a soup.
I don’t often use leek because of the whole fructose thing, but if I just use the green part I seem to be okay, you can use whatever part of the leek you choose! This soup reminds me of a classic cauliflower soup but I find using beans rather than potatoes or just cauliflower makes it more filling. If you want something delicious without beans then try my cauliflower sauce, but just add more of the stock to the finished product.
8 cups water
2 x 5cm pieces of lemon rind
1/4 cup parsley stalks (you’ll use the leaf below)
1 Tbs olive oil
3 cup stock (vegetable or chicken (bone broth yay!))
500g cauliflower, roughly chopped into gold ball sized pieces, stalk included
1.5 cups roughly chopped leek
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbs fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (see notes at end of the recipe for vegan options)
50g diced bacon (replace with 1 Tbs olive oil and a generous pinch of salt if omitting)
2 cups finely sliced kale
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs lemon zest
2 Tbs roughly chopped parsley
Place beans, water, rind, and parsley stalks in a pot and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 2 minutes then turn off the heat and set aside for 30 minutes with the lid on the pot.
Heat olive oil in a heavy based saucepan, add leeks and garlic and cook over medium heat until softened. Add the beans along with their soaking water (remove lemon rind) and the stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes and add the cauliflower. Continue to cook for 45 minutes or until both the beans and cauliflower are very tender. Add mustard and lemon juice.
Transfer to a food processor or blender, being careful to not overfill as it’s hot, and process until very smooth. Add parmesan and process again. Add water until you reached your desired thickness, processing to smoothly combine. Taste, season with salt and pepper but remember the kale garnish will also be salty.
Heat a medium heavy based fry pan. Once hot add the kale and bacon (or olive oil) and cook until both are crisp. About 5 minutes.
Divide soup amongst bowls and top with crispy kale, parsley and lemon zest. You could also drizzle olive oil and shave some extra parmesan on top too.
Tip: You can freeze portions of this easily! You can also recrisp the crispy kale in a pan briefly before serving the next day,