Leek cauliflower potato soup

When I first started cooking, soups were a total mystery to me.  I knew that I loved them, but making them seemed complicated, so I left that to my mom and restaurants.  But actually, making soups is really easy!  You should try it!

This soup is especially easy, and it’s super nutritious. There aren’t a lot of ingredients, and it turns out with a pleasant, mild taste.  I incorporated cauliflower because it’s super nutritious: packed with most of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and other vitamins and minerals.  Additionally, cruciferous vegetables (like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts) activate immune cells in the gut during eating via a receptor (AhR).  They are also some of the most active anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer vegetables out there.  http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-broccoli-receptor-our-first-line-of-defense-2/

Leeks are also super nutritious. They are part of the allium family of vegetables which includes garlic and onions. Leeks have a milder taste than onion. They are also one of the top most potent inhibitors of cancer growth (stomach, brain, kidney, pancreatic cancers), along with the rest of the allium family.

http://growyourownhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/anticancer.pdf

Finally, potatoes aren’t very nutritious, but you can add them for the taste and the familiarity. Or you can choose to omit them and add another head of cauliflower. If omitting the potatoes, another delicious option is to add a can of coconut milk to the soup instead of 1 of the cups of water; coconut milk makes the soup sweeter and a bit fattier.

Almond milk adds protein, and if buying from a store, is usually fortified with calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes  Cook time: 1:15 total  Serves: 8

Ingredients:

2 medium to large leeks – chop them into small pieces

1-2 heads of cauliflower – chopped into small pieces

3 Yukon Gold potatoes (optional) – mostly peeled, chopped into small pieces

4 tablespoons extra virgin first cold press olive oil

2 tablespoons vegan butter

4 cups of water and 1 vegan bouillon cube or 4 cups of vegetable broth (if doing the coconut milk option, 1 can of coconut milk and 3 cups of water or vegetable broth)

2 cups non-sweetened, non-flavor-added almond milk

Herbs: 2 teaspoons each of tarragon, thyme, and parsley

Salt: 2 teaspoons or to taste

Pepper: 1 teaspoon or to taste

Directions:

Put a large saucepan on the stove over low to medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons olive oil and leeks. Saute for 10-15 minutes, until leeks get soft.

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Add the cauliflower and saute an additional 5 minutes. Now add the potatoes, water, almond milk, bouillon, herbs, and vegan butter (or coconut milk, if using that) and bring to a boil.

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Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30-45 minutes, or until the cauliflowers and potatoes soften. Stir intermittently, every 10 minutes or so. Take off the heat and allow to cool. In batches, put soup into blender and liquefy. Add salt and pepper to taste.  You can add a bit of parsley on top to make it pretty.

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Thank you to www.nutritionfacts.org for the nutrition information!

A child’s perspective

I was walking through the grocery store the other day, when I saw an eye-opening interaction between a child, who appeared to be about four years old, and his father.  They were standing next to the fish display, and the child was staring at the rows of marine life organized on the ice. It went something like this:

Child: Daddy, why are all of those fish dead?

Dad: The fishermen killed them.

Child: Why did they do that?

Dad: Um… I don’t know…

Son: But they didn’t have to kill them, right, Dad?

Dad: They killed them so we can eat them.

Son: But killing is wrong.

Dad then steered his son away from the fish display.

This interaction reminded me of the simple purity of a child’s thoughts.  I’ve loved animals since I was little.  My first books all featured animals of various sorts, and I loved those characters; loving those characters in turn encouraged me to learn how to read.  Whenever I saw a real, live animal, it was a magical experience.  I wanted to get to know them, to touch their fur, to interact with them.  I had respect for them.

And yet, somehow, meatballs in soup with carrots and potatoes, chicken with rice, and various other animal-based meals appeared in front of me.  I was urged to eat them because eating them would make me stronger and help me grow.  The connection between loving animals and then turning around and eating them, was, I am sure, quickly reasoned to be just a matter of fact.  The conversations likely went something like, “Where does this meat come from? A cow? But I like cows. It was born and grew up to become meat for me to eat? I have to eat it or I won’t grow? Okay…”

I don’t blame anyone for conditioning me to eat meat.  I don’t blame people who are conditioned to eat meat for doing so.  However, we have options now.  I encourage you to think about what, or who, you are really eating.  When I started to do this, it felt like such a relief, to be rid of the dissonance between loving and respecting animals’ lives, and eating them too.

A cute video touched me recently.  I highly recommend watching it: